No Match for The King
An Advent Devotional on Matthew 2:1-18
The world has had its share of crazy politicians. King Herod was definitely one of them! He was famous for his fits of rage, the killing his favorite wife and three sons, and drowning a high priest. Toward the end of his tumultuous rule Herod became paranoid. On his death bed he arranged the execution of hundreds of Jewish leaders.
Herod’s paranoia is easy to recognize in our passage. When he learns from the wise men that the King of the Jews has been born, he is suspicious (v.3). A new king? He was their king! Herod felt threatened. Asking the wise men for a report is clearly a trick (v.8). At this point Herod has already decided that this baby boy must go. He would not tolerate a rival ruler in his kingdom.
The slaughter of all the male babies and toddlers in Bethlehem and surrounding area is not the family friendly part of the Christmas story (v.16). The fact that Bethlehem at that time probably did not have more than about two dozen infants does not make it less devious or gruesome.
Behind Herod’s murderous plot we see the devil himself at work, eager to sabotage God’s plan of redemption. From the beginning of time, Satan had been on a crusade to kill the offspring of the woman (Gen. 3:15). But Herod and the devil would not prevail. God had already warned Joseph in a dream (v.13). By the time Herod’s soldiers marched down the streets of Bethlehem, Joseph and family were en route to Egypt, fulfilling prophecy along the way (vs.14,15).
Jesus still has enemies. Many in our world do not mind acknowledging Jesus’ birth, but not His rule. Sadly, they miss out on what every true believer has discovered. This King is gentle and lowly in heart. His yoke is easy and His burden light. At His feet we find rest for our souls (Matt. 11:29,30).