The Son Is Rising
Lord, thank You for protecting the miracle of God becoming a human from Herod.
Read MATTHEW 2:1–12
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (2). Have you worshiped him lately?
This is no tale told to entertain. Jesus enters our world at a specific time, in a specific place (1,6). Herod the Great, near the end of his reign, is feeling insecure about his position. Not surprisingly, he and all Jerusalem become troubled when impressive-looking visitors from the east enter the city, inquiring about a new king (2,3). As we come to celebrate today, whom do we seek? How reverently will we approach him?
Herod, none too pleased, researches the facts (4–6), sounds out the potential enemy (7,8) and keeps quiet about the truth in case it endangers his own position. He was a deceitful schemer: lying to protect himself and using others to do his dirty work (8). These wise men aren’t deceived or distracted from their purpose (9). Honored experts in their astral field, they carefully follow the signs they recognize (1,2), leading them to Bethlehem, the City of David (9). Despite their status, they have made this difficult pilgrimage—and, ignoring the pomp of a king’s palace, come to Mary and Joseph’s home. Again, Matthew shows us God’s purposes worked out through Gentiles, who joyfully bow before Christ in humble worship (11). Status rises above appearance or wealth. The Magi’s gifts testify of this shepherd ruler (6): gold for a king; incense for the priest who intercedes on his people’s behalf; myrrh, used in embalming, pointing to his death for us (11).
The Magi, wise to Herod’s schemes, take a different route home (12). After such a long journey, this encounter with the Christ-child has affected them deeply (10,11). As we come today to worship and offer our gifts, what will our response be to this long-awaited Messiah? How will the encounter change us?
Are you willing to receive the gift of the Holy King today?
Truly, Lord, no purpose of Yours can be thwarted by the designs of wicked men (Job 42:1).
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