When King Herod heard this he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him.
(Matthew 2:3 ESV)
Yesterday we read about the wise men who came from the east to worship the newborn Jesus. They had come seeking the one “born king of the Jews” [Matthew 2:2]. Isn’t it interesting that Jesus was born a king? Babies are usually born as a prince (or princess). They don’t become king (or queen) until later. But Jesus was recognized as a king from the moment He was born.
Its also interesting that the wise men apparently knew the prophecies of the Old Testament well enough to know God would send a savior to mankind yet they somehow ended up in Jerusalem, not Bethlehem where the child was to be born. They asked for this new-born king, which alarmed King Herod who was ruling over Israel at this time.
Herod was not a Jew. He was an Edomite who was placed into power as a puppet ruler by the Romans. As such, the Jewish people did not recognize him as their true leader. He certainly was aware of this so the news that a new king of the Jews existed worried him.
History informs us that Herod was a brutal and paranoid ruler. He murdered his wife, his mother-in-law and three of his sons not to mention countless others who posed a real or imaginary threat to his reign. When he felt threatened he shot first and asked questions later, if he asked questions at all. As we’ll read in a couple of days, Herod devises a plan to eliminate this new king of the Jews (Jesus). That plan will fail but even before the plan was executed all Jerusalem was worried about what he would do.
When leaders are arrogant and harbor hate for God the people have good reason to be worried, especially those who are God’s children [John 1:12]. We certainly see this happening in our culture here in America. Our leaders have no regard for God. They don’t recognize Jesus as their Lord and Savior, if they believe He exists at all. They do all they can to eliminate Him from society, albeit in a different manner than Herod. But their goals were the same: remove Jesus from the lives of the people for the sake of their own ego.
This is very dangerous. Leaders should lead people towards Jesus, not away from Him. Any leader who prevents or disables anyone from learning about Christ will have to answer to God and that won’t be pretty. This includes government leaders, business leaders, educators, and certainly parents. In fact, Jesus told us that anyone who leads another to sin would be better off dead [Luke 17:2]. Ouch.
When leaders are anti-Jesus the populace should be concerned. Such people will not rule with the best interests of their followers in mind. Instead their decisions – most notably to eliminate Christ from their jurisdiction – will only lead to eternal heartbreak.
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