It's day ten of our series on the men and women who were at the first Christmas. We're taking twelve days to look at the men and women who were at the first Christmas and get to know them as people. We want to shift our understanding from fictional fable, to human reality. We'd love to hear how this series is impacting you! Feel free to comment below.
If you need to catch up, here's our past devotionals:
Day 3- Mary: Perfect Isn't Required
Day 4- Jospeh: The Forgotten Father
Day 9 – The Angels: Bursting with Joy
Today we're hearing from Ben Alderman, CrossFit Games Athlete, Owner of Iron Mile Fitness, and host of the podcast Beyond the Barbell.
READ: Matthew 2:1-18
On Christmas we often turn our focus to the more exciting and joyful aspects of our Faith and Christian life. We remember more than Christmas trees and lights, we remember the true joy that the Nativity Scene bought us. Unfortunately, the message of the Nativity Scene can make some people roll their eyes or become angry at the religious nature of the holiday.
The same is true at the original Christmas. On the very night that Jesus was born, Herod the King received the news, that not many miles away in Jerusalem. When he heard what was going on in this small town called Bethlehem, and the circumstances surrounding Jesus' birth, he knew what people were thinking and who this child possibly was. Herod was not ignorant to the prophecies of a virgin birth(Isaiah 7:14) that he would be born in Bethlehem(Micah 5:2) and others. Instead of excitement, he was angry and mad.
Herod is “troubled,” we are told, by the news of Jesus’ birth. He tries to trick the Wisemen into telling him where Jesus is under the guise that he wanted to worship the Savior. In reality, Herod wanted to kill him. As the plot unfolds, the Old King moves from troubled to furious after his plot to have Jesus brought to him fails. The enraged Herod then reacts in his pride and preservation of his own rule to have all male children under the age of two to be killed.
Why did Herod react this way? Because he was threatened. He did not want to give up control or have someone take away his power and authority. Herod's rejection of the Gospel and God's plan was extreme. Because of the power he wielded as king, his consequences are paid out almost entirely on the other side of the grave.
His pride and his heart are most certainly still seen in our lives today. There are people around us with violent reactions to the Good News. In some parts of the world true physical violence befall's the followers of Christ. In America, the reactions are still more subdued and result in being unpopular, unliked, or unfollowed.
The “Herod's” around us are fortified against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Their pride will get the better of them and their passion to snuff out the Good News will be their futile pursuit. Despite this we must remember, we are NOT God. We, as believers, do not see the end of a man. Where he will go, who he will be, or whether he will turn and repent or not. Herod heard. Then he hardened. Many have followed in kind. But, that's not everyone's story. So many have turned and embraced the Jesus as king and turned to the Prince of Peace.
Believer, rejoice in the true Christmas Story and share it with whomever you can regardless of reaction. Some will reciprocate your joy. Some will respond indifferently. Some may even respond with a level of rage. We let God meet the place and position of each person. He is the one who softens people's hearts, not us. This Christmas it is not our job to identify the Herods in our life but, or to be afraid of them, but instead to share the Gospel and the real meaning of the holiday with everyone we can.