When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. (Matthew 2:3–4)
Matthew 2:1-12 isn’t about three kings, as we learned yesterday, but about two kings – Herod and Jesus a big king and a little king. Which is which? Think about it.
What brings fear to your heart? Why would news of a baby cause fear in the heart of a king, or in any person?
Herod didn’t become a king because of his heritage or family line. He wasn’t elected king; he was appointed by the Roman leaders to be king or ruler of this area. Herod was self-conscious and paranoid about his position, so much so that he had close relatives put to death. Herod was king, and he was fearful that there were greater kings than him. He was the little king.
Jesus was baby. News of a baby born to be a king wasn’t normal. The Bible told of a king, prophesied in Micah and other places (see verses 5-6). This baby could be a challenge to Herod’s role, privilege and control. Herod was fearful of what might result.
Herod felt fear and hostility to this news, much like what we feel when we lose control of our lives. This is a reasonable response to someone who wants to be King of our lives. “Hostility, however, is quite reasonable, given that we are naturally inclined to oppose God and his ways and his Son, and given the very controversial claims of Christ. If he is King, you and I are not (Douglas Sean O’Donnell).”
You and I are like Herod. At times, maybe frequently, we don’t want Jesus to be King of our lives. I want to run this part of my life, or that area of my life, my own way. Having a King means that I need to submit to his authority and acknowledge his control of my life. Either Jesus is King or I am king, there are no two ways about it.
Herod’s response should challenge us and cause you and I to consider whether we are truly bowing to Jesus consistently, daily, moment by moment. Am I fearful and hostile to God because I want to be in charge? As you prepare for Christmas, think about how you regularly respond to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and whether you are the little king responding to the Lord of all.