Herod: No story is perfect
-Pastor Melissa Fain-
1In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” 7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
Matthew 2:1-8 NRSV
Did you know no earthly plan is perfect? Once we try to make it happen something is bound to go wrong.
Take the Christmas story. The right people were involved to bring it into this world: Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, and Magi (or wise men). It happened in the right place: Bethlehem. That was the birthplace of King David. The Bible calls him God’s anointed king. Also, Joseph was an ancestor of David. That made Jesus part of David’s lineage. Then the census came at the right time to get everything to the right place.
Then there was Herod. Herod was a bad guy. He was egotistic. That means he did things for himself and no one else. Even things that appeared for others, was really about him. Like the Temple. The Jewish people lost their Temple hundreds of years before when Babylonians tore it down. The Jewish people wanted their Temple back. Herod wanted allegiance, so he had the Temple rebuilt. People were beginning to talk about the family of Herod like they were like King David. There were those who would call Herod’s son (also called Herod) a messiah. Herod’s son would have those calling him an anointed king of God. In a world where some considered immortality in continuing one’s family, this baby Jesus was a threat.
Herod never wanted to pay homage, or show public respect, to Jesus. He wanted the Magi to show him where Jesus was to kill him.
We remember Herod at Christmas because we need to remember some people don’t want God’s story. That’s life. God’s story continues even though there are those who try really hard to destroy it. So, while those people keep the story from being perfect, remember God ultimately makes it right.
Question: How can we help make this Christmas better, when others seem to make it worse?
Prayer: Dear God, help us see you, when others try to destroy your plans. Amen.
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