Thursday Jan. 2
Scripture: Matthew 2:3-7
When King Herod hears that there are foreign wise men asking where the new king has been born, he is rightly frightened. He is frightened because his worst fears are confirmed: he is not a real king.
History calls him Herod the Great, and we know from sources outside the New Testament that he reigned over Judea for decades and in many ways was a very effective ruler. He was also paranoid and brutal. Herod put to death many people whom he suspected of plotting to supplant him, including members of his immediate family.
As powerful as he was in his own kingdom, Herod’s power was limited. He served at the pleasure of the Romans.
What a contrast he is to the new (real) king born in Bethlehem. King Jesus reigns in love. Instead of worrying about enemies, real or imagined, Jesus loves those who oppose him. Power, for Jesus, is found not in brute strength but in weakness, meekness, and gentleness.
Who is our king? The answer seems so obvious. But perhaps we should look more closely at our lives. Do we really believe that the loving way of Jesus is more powerful than the violent effectiveness of Herod?
As Christmas continues, we should ask which king we really follow. After which king do we pattern our lives and society, Herod or Jesus?
Prayer: “Glory to the newborn King! Peace on earth and mercy mild…” We welcome you into our lives, heaven-born Prince of Peace. You are the true king and Lord of heaven and earth. Amen.