“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 have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Matthew 2:1-3 (NKJV) Why on earth would king Herod (and all Jerusalem) be troubled (agitated, concerned, stirred up) over the announcement of the birth of a Jewish baby? It wasn’t another newborn baby that caused such concern for Herod and the Jewish population; it was the announcement that a King of the Jews was born that put things in such an uproar. For Herod this was a serious matter; he would be in jeopardy of losing his position and the accompanying power of being king, not to mention the protection of the Roman army. To no longer be king could have resulted in death for Herod at the hands of his former subjects. So, it’s not too difficult to understand that Herod is troubled by Jesus’ birth; but what about “all Jerusalem” why were they troubled? Lets think for a minute about “troubled”, Herod was obviously troubled by the threat to his position; the ruling powers of the Jewish people (The High Priest and the Sanhedrin along with the Sadducees and Pharisees) were somewhat divided (or would be when Jesus appeared and began to teach as a Rabbi) as to their allegiance toward Him. On the one hand we have those who (like Herod) were threatened by His presence; and on the other those who knew and understood the Scriptures promising the birth of a Messiah. These who were not troubled by His birth were nonetheless impatient to have their King take His place of authority and rout the present king and the Romans from their land. This sounds a lot like the situation faced by many Churches today; there are those who resent His authority because authority requires obedience to His will and not to our own; we can no longer make our own rules if Jesus is indeed King so we seek a Jesus who is merely a part of our congregation instead of Lord. He then blesses and grants us favor as long as we adhere to our own standards of holiness; as long as He “behaves” we are not troubled by King Jesus. Then of course is the group who can’t wait for King Jesus to “make it right”, to destroy all the evil and fix all of our problems with one wave of His hand and the calling down of consuming fire. Both are wrong; we are to be salt and light, we are to “be about My Father’s business”, to occupy until He comes. We are not to be troubled at His Lordship but at peace with the certainty of His presence.
Happy New Year!