December 2019: When Jesus is a Threat
Updated: Jul 8, 2021
'When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him;' - Matthew 2 v 3
When King Herod first heard about the birth of Jesus the messiah from the Magi, he felt threatened. He did not respond in worship, excitement or thanksgiving but felt threatened and insecure. Herod had been appointed king and ruler over the people of Israel by the Roman empire. He enjoyed his position of authority and power and so when he hears of this boy who was born 'king of the Jews' he is angry and tries to kill this child. He tries to trick the magi into telling him where the boy is. When he realises that they have gone home a different way, he is furious and has all of the males, two years and under in that region killed. Herod's refusal to bow the knee to the king of the Jews led to tragedy. He would rather commit genocide than have his position and rule threatened. We are told that 'all Jerusalem with him' also felt troubled by his coming. Later those in Jerusalem would demand his execution, they would ultimately reject Jesus and refuse his rule.
Now whether we like it or not, there is a little bit of Herod in all of us. We may not be in his position of power nor be the kind of people who do what he did. However we all like to rule our own lives and feel as if we are on the throne. If that rule and control is threatened then we can feel unhappy, insecure and angry. But to follow Jesus is to submit to his rule, to say to him 'you are the Lord of my life.' Jesus is in charge. We like to have control over our lives or certain aspects of our lives, but Jesus requires us to submit our whole lives to him. As we approach Christmas, many people like to think of the wee baby Jesus in the manger, but forget that wee boy is the sovereign Lord of the universe who calls us to submit to him and follow him. There may be be some sin in our life that we need to repent of and let go. God may be demanding more of our time or resources, he may even calling us to something or somewhere new and we are reluctant to go. But to follow Jesus is submit to his rule and obey him.