“And [Herod] sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him’” (NASB).
After consulting with priests and scribes as to the birthplace of the Messiah, Herod sends the Magi to Bethlehem to find the Christ Child. He does so under the guise of wanting to honor and worship the Christ Child. Imagine the message sent throughout the region if this were to take place: Herod the Great worshipping at the crib of an infant! Unfortunately, as with so many powerful people, his true intentions were to maintain power for himself and eliminate any threat to his rule.
Herod’s response is seen in contrast to that of his would-be emissaries. The Magi, who were persons of considerable means, came without pretense or effort to gain more power for themselves. They knelt before Christ, worshipped and rejoiced—much like the shepherds did at the time of Christ’s birth (Luke 2:8-20). This passage is a reminder of the equalizing nature of Jesus’ birth, and the Good News by extension. Jesus and the gospel are available to all, whether powerful or weak, rich or poor, high or low. He asks the same of everyone: that we come to him, lay down our reliance upon ourselves and place our faith in him. And in this, the world is flipped on its head. The very things that are in this world strengths and privileges—power, wealth, pride, resources—are all too often the very things that impede us from embracing the Messiah.
This season, may we come humbly to Christ, rejoice in him and use what power we have to glorify him rather than ourselves.
Chris Cook, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Counseling