A Disturbing Birth

Matthew 2:1-6

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Most likely the visit of the magi as recorded in Matthew’s gospel took place some two years after Jesus’ birth. The star may have shown up at Jesus’ birth, but there is other evidence that would point to their arrival some time later. Nevertheless these wise men did visit Jerusalem and ask about the birth of the King of the Jews. Not surprisingly King Herod’s response to the news of this search was not pleasant. And not only was the king troubled, all Jerusalem was troubled along with him. For this newborn King will change everything. And I mean everything.

It is one thing to celebrate the birth of a little baby who was laid in a manger. It is one thing to learn of angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest!” It is quite another thing to consider the rule and reign of God in this Child. Never mind that Scripture is being fulfilled. Don’t mention the fact that this One is a ruler who will shepherd God’s people Israel. Give no thought that this is the Christ – the Anointed One.

When Jesus reigns things will be different. Differences and offenses, sins and transgressions will be forgiven – between God and man, and husband and wife, child and mother, sister and brother, friend and foe. For that is why he was to come: because we had ruined our relationships, corrupted our spiritual foundations, and undercut our own souls.

We have done this in spite of ourselves. But Christ has come to put things right. And sometimes that means we must climb out of our miry muck of self-righteousness, ego-centered pain, and self-serving interests to consider Christ’s gift. He was born 2000 years ago, but even after all this time, his rule and reign in people’s lives changes everything. Has he changed your life? Will you repent and believe the Good News of his birth? I need to. I hope you will join me.

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