The Christmas Story: King Herod
“Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, ‘Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back, and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!’”1
King Herod, much like Dr. Seuss’s infamous Grinch, is a villainous character in the Christmas story. Although not a Jew by birth, Herod was raised in Judaism and took much pride in his leadership. He went to great, and often cruel, lengths to ensure his power was secured.
So, when he received a visit from three wise men seeking the King of the Jews that had been born, you can imagine the jealously that arose in him and the thoughts that suddenly started flashing through his mind. The Bible says that he was “deeply disturbed, as was everyone in Jerusalem.” Perhaps, others were disturbed knowing the cruelty Herod was capable of and may have feared what this may lead him to do! But being the clever ruler he was, he quickly thought of a plan where he convinced the wise men to go search for Jesus and let him know when they found him so he could go worship too! However, as we later see, he wanted to terminate the opposition. Since the wise men were alerted to his evil plan, they went home a different way. When Herod saw that they did not return, he sent to kill every baby boy under the age of two (which was the age range he learned from the wise men) thinking this would surely get rid of anyone who would threaten his position as king. Herod’s pride, jealousy, and desire for control and power kept him from experiencing the blessing of knowing the Savior.
Over the past two weeks we have seen many characters in the Christmas story who God used in great ways, but even Herod was used in fulfilling the prophecies that had been foretold. Unfortunately, however, he chose to close his heart to the One True King.
Today, Jesus is easily accessible to all who seek Him. However, like Herod, many are so close to Jesus yet so far at the same time because they refuse to let go of control and let the Savior rule in their hearts. As we celebrate Christmas, my prayer is that we would choose to invite the King into our lives and experience the true joy that is only found in Jesus. Merry Christmas, friends!
Suggested prayer: Dear God, today in the midst of family gatherings, celebrations, and numerous activities, please help my heart be open to the real Gift… Jesus. I choose to give you control of my life and ask that you use me for Your glory. Help me be a light for others to find their way to You as well. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Matthew 2:7-8 (NLT).
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.