Christmas Part 4 (This is the fourth part of my Christmas series. If you missed the first three parts, you can find them here – Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.)

Matthew 2:1-12 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 in the east 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 Christ 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 be the shepherd of may 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 make a careful search 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 in the east 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 and of incense and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Herod and the Magi were confronted with the idea of Who Jesus really was. They had to decide if they believed the story of the stars – the King of the Jews had been born in Bethlehem.

Herod responded with anger. Known for his violent acts and cruel behavior as a jealous man who worried about his position, Herod believed that the claims of the Magi could be true. His response to the message of Christmas was to stamp it out – get rid of the problem.

The Magi were moved to a different response. They sought out the child so that they could worship Him. We do not know that these men believed in Yahweh, the one true God, but they had observed God’s movement in the stars and believed that a King had been born.

Jesus’ birth was as misunderstood then as it is today. He came not as an earthly king who would overthrow Herod’s government, but as a heavenly King who would supersede all earthly governments, one day creating a New Order for all who believe.

How will you respond to Jesus this Christmas? Will you bow and worship, or will you run from the message of Christmas?