When Jesus was born, we learn that some people sought to find him.
Firstly, Matthew tells us that some Magi followed a star to find the Messiah. We read: ‘After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him”’ (Matthew 2:1-2).
Notice why the Magi were looking for Jesus. They recognised that he was the king and they desired to worship him.
But Matthew tells us that somebody else was looking for Jesus too. We read: ‘3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 ” ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.’ ” 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”’ (Matthew 2:3-8).
King Herod appeared to be seeking Jesus for the same reasons as the Magi: he wanted to ‘worship’ the new king. But Matthew records that Herod was speaking deceitfully. Herod’s real intention was to kill Jesus. And when Herod realised that his secret plan had failed, he revealed his true colours. Matthew records: ‘When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi’ (Matthew 2:16).
It is helpful to consider these two groups as representing two of the responses to Jesus that people still have today.
The first group of people are like the Magi. They seek Jesus to worship him. They believe that Jesus is God and that Jesus came to die for their sins. So they submit to Christ’s kingly rule and continue to seek him in the pages of the Bible. One day God will reward them with eternal life in heaven.
The second group are like King Herod. They are hostile to Jesus. They do not recognise Christ’s kingship and refuse to bow to him. They are king of their life (thank you very much!). In fact, these people will do everything they can to suppress the truth about Jesus. They refuse to listen to their conscience which warns them about their sin, they refuse to listen to Christians talk about Jesus and they refuse to read God’s Word about Jesus. Sadly, God will one day punish them with eternal suffering in hell.
So which group do you think you belong to? Do you believe in Jesus as your king? Or are you your own King and you will stop at nothing to keep it that way?