“Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2
There are three responses to Jesus illustrated in the Christmas story:
- Those who oppose the King Matt. 2:3-8, 16-18
Herod was appointed King of Judea by the Roman Emperor Antony and the Roman senate. He had many adversaries among the Jews and in the Roman Empire. History records that even Queen Cleopatra was an enemy to Herod. He went to extraordinary lengths to maintain his throne so his reign was filled with political intrigue and murder. He had his wife’s brother drowned and made it look like an accident. He put his mother-in-law in chains because she made accusations against him to Cleopatra who in turn went to the Roman emperor. He had his wife executed because of alleged unfaithfulness. He then had his mother-in-law executed. He then executed his sister’s husband. He had three of his sons murdered. Herod reigned by the sword. He brutally put down every challenge to his throne. So when some magi came from the east to pay homage to a new king, Herod’s response was predictable. Herod illustrates those in our world that actively oppose Jesus Christ.
- Those who ignore the King Matt. 2:3-6
The Jewish religious leaders ignored King Jesus upon His arrival. When they were asked by Herod where the Messiah was supposed to be born, they quoted Micah 5:2. They knew he was to be born in Bethlehem. Yet there is no indication that they made an effort to verify that Jesus was the Messiah. They were 5 miles from the Son of God but did not go and see Him! This attitude illustrates many people’s response to Jesus. They know some things about Him but have no desire to know Him.
- Those who worship the King Matt. 2:1, 9-12
The Magi diligently sought Christ, bowed before Him, and paid homage to Him with gifts. They understood what the king and the religious leaders missed; Jesus is the Messiah sent from God and is worthy of our praise, love, and devotion.
Which of these responses best describes you this Christmas season?