Reading the Word
Matthew 2:3–6 (ESV)
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Understanding and Applying the Word
Herod was troubled. He was the current king of the Jews, even though he was under the authority of Rome. If the Messiah had been born, he knew it meant the end of his royal line. He was thinking of his own power and the future of his name. The birth of Jesus was troubling.
When Herod heard the news of Jesus’ birth, he sought information from the chief priests and scribes. They told him of the prophesy found in Micah 5:2 that said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. In response, Herod would order all male children in the region under the age of two to be murdered.
Herod’s response to Jesus is not unlike the response of many, even today. Jesus, the King of kings, is troubling for many because he brings all of us under his authority. He calls us to accountability for our lives and tells us that we have all fallen short. We need to repent and be saved. Many hear the news of Jesus and celebrate because of the good news of salvation through him. Others hear the same news and understand it as a threat to their lives. They do all they can to push Jesus away. What is your response to the news of Jesus’ birth?
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