2:1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2:2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
2:3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;
2:4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
2:5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'”
2:7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.
2:8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
2:9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.
2:10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
2:11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
The news of a promised future King was met with fear and anger by King Herod and Jerusalem. It is astounding to see how even in the form of a baby, the name of Jesus held great power. The future reign of Jesus was foretold and now it was coming to pass. Kings and all other rulers were going to be met with a greater authority that would surpass anything this world has ever seen.
This passage depicts for us a great picture of God’s sovereignty and control over everything that happens in this world. When God has a plan in mind, there is nothing in this world that will thwart God’s will from taking place in our lives. Herod plotted a plan in attempt to destroy God’s plan from taking place and was met with utter failure. God’s loving hand of protection guided the wise men from returning to Herod and in the end saved any harm from coming to baby Jesus along with the wise men.
I remember hearing a story once of a wife and husband who were missionaries in Lebanon. Things were getting very dangerous for Christians and at the time the husband had left Lebanon to come to the U.S. to arrange for them to move there. During the time that he was away, things had escalated to the point in which people were doing anything they could to run and hide. He had finally arranged for his wife and son to legally come to the U.S. but since they were very well known as missionaries, they were one of the first on the list to be taken and killed. The day came for his wife and son to be taken to the airport and on a flight to Detroit. However, the road that they had to take was very dangerous and they were being searched for. During this time, each car was being stopped and searched for any sign of them and other Christians as well. That day, as they were driving there was an usual amount of traffic. The traffic was so heavy and crowded that it became almost impossible to search every single vehicle. They drove right through that area completely unnoticed and hidden in the midst of the crowd of cars. God’s hand was lovingly guiding them and protecting them each step of the way.
Our God is a God who has a plan in motion. His plan was to send Jesus to come to this earth to die and rescue us and no matter what opposition He faced, it was removed and broken. There is no situation that we face in which God cannot rescue us from. Be encouraged that in God’s hands, we are safe, secure and loved.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
The birth narrative found in Matthew is interesting because he depicts two very distinct reactions to the birth of the prophesied messiah. The first is fear and rejection. The second is honor service. Ultimately, these are the two choices that we will all face. There is not middle ground.
In Revelation 3:16 Jesus says of the church in Laodicea, “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
We are now at the start of a new year. This is the perfect time to ask ourselves if we have been lukewarm. Let us commit ourselves to serving Jesus this year.