And assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:4–6)
Yesterday we thought about the response of Herod to the questions of the Wise Men. Today let’s look at the response of the religious leaders.
When the Wise Men came to Herod, Herod had to go ask other people, because he didn’t know “Where is he born king of the Jews?” What king of the Jews? He was supposed to be born near here, I know nothing about that. Herod, not a religious person, was clueless, so he went to ask some religious people for the answer.
Commentator Douglas Sean O’Donnell said that Herod went to find the best Jeopardy contestants to help him out. When they heard the question, they all tried to buzz in at the same time. It was easy – Star prophesies for 100, Alex. They didn’t even have to think to come up with Micah 5:2 (see Matt. 2:6). It was Bethlehem. They all knew the answer.
What did the religious leaders do after that? Apparently nothing. They were totally indifferent. They were not curious. They didn’t ask more questions of Herod or the Wise Men. They didn’t send a representative to Bethlehem to check it out. Nothing.
Maybe your response to King Jesus isn’t hostility, but is it apathy or indifference? You have heard the Christmas story often, possibly since you were little, but it makes no difference in your life, it doesn’t even disrupt your schedule.
Keith Green was a well-known Christian singer when I was in high school, and one of his most powerful and challenging songs is Asleep in the Light. One of the lines to that song says,
The world is sleeping in the dark,
That the church just can’t fight,
’cause it’s asleep in the light!
Don’t sleep in the light this Christmas. Don’t hide this news under a bushel, let it shine! Fight the apathy and indifference that the religious leaders had two thousand years ago and allow this news to make you different, not indifferent.