One of the most fascinating characters of the Christmas story is King Herod. He’s often overlooked or over simplified, but he’s actually the most relatable. King Herod, like many of us, was curious about the gossip he was hearing about this baby born in Bethlehem. People were claiming that the baby was to become the King of the Jews. If the baby was going to be king, then Herod potentially had competition. Plus, his son was supposed to be the next king, not this strange baby. Herod understood that if the rumors were true, his place as king was being threatened. That’s why he’s so easy to relate to – he’s more concerned about himself than the savior or the world.
As much as we might dislike the truth, we’re all pretty selfish. We go about our day concerned about our own personal needs. We want to feel in control of our lives. We focus on how we look. We’re concerned about how we’re perceived. When possible, we want to be more successful than others around us. We’re ambitious, self-motivating, self-reliant and self-confident. These are all terms that our media, teachers and even our parents encourage and promote. But, all this focus on self makes us pretty self-centered.
Christ has called us to “take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24).” This means that we let our personal ambitions die so we can focus on God’s call and desire for our lives. It means we give up control and let God guide and lead us through our day. We must deny ourselves and trust in the Lord.
Jesus is a threat to our selves. His birth places our personal ambitions in peril. Our plans, goals and intentions are in danger with the birth of our Lord and Savior. Just like Herod, we must respond to His coming. We can either react like Herod by hiding, denying or trying to destroy Jesus. Or, we can follow the ways of the true King and enter into the Kingdom of God. We can see ourselves at RISK of losing control or we can take a RISK and follow Christ. When we decide to take that risk, we will live a great and glorious adventure with the King of kings and Lord of lords.
God has called us to greater things than what we’re capable of on our own. His plans for our lives are multi-dimensional. We may have our own ideal life, which typically includes success, wealth, popularity, comfort, etc. With His plans, our needs are met and our desires considered. But, God factors more into our life than what we see on the surface. He desires for us to grow in character through obedience, perseverance and a life surrendered to Him. Our relationship with Him grows so others can be impacted. As a result, transformation takes place everywhere we turn.
Trust that you’re able to accomplish the greatness that God has planned for you and trust that He will make you great. He’ll carry you through hardship to reach glory. Don’t give up on God, but rather give in to Him. You’ll find that Jesus was never a threat because living a life with Him is an awesome adventure.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 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.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 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. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘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’.”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 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.”
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. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 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. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.