“When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.”
(Matthew 2:3, NIV)
Jesus was born in the Roman Empire in a time of peace and prosperity, a time of literary giants such as Virgil and Ovid. But the most prominent headline was in Bethlehem rather than Rome. A baby—of all things—stirred political leaders, wise thinkers, the angelic hosts, and cosmic alignments!
Wise men from the east interpreted an extraordinary star as sign of the advent of the “king of the Jews.” They made the difficult journey to worship the creator of the universe, seeking salvation in a baby in Bethlehem. Most improbable but true!
The word spread like wildfire and reached no less than “Herod the Great,” king of Judea. Herod’s reign was characterized by ruthlessness: he murdered his wife, his three sons, and anyone who threatened his insatiable thirst for power. Herod assembled chief priests and teachers of the law for information about the “baby who would be king.” In a rare stroke of wisdom, they noted the prophecy: “Out of you [Bethlehem] will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel” (Matt. 2:6, Mic. 5:2, 4). Most improbable but true! Not Rome, or at least Jerusalem, but Bethlehem!
Insanely jealous, Herod deceitfully searched for the child, so that he could “worship him.” But God summoned His heavenly intelligence service to care for the wise worshippers and the young family. The wise men were warned in a dream and returned to their country. An angel of the Lord instructed the family to flee to Egypt, because the haunted king would try to eliminate the child (Matt. 2:16). No one understands the insanity of sin better than God!
Hallelujah! The saving child brought us salvation by faith (Col. 1:19-20). A baby stirred the empire, its leaders, wise thinkers, angels, and the universe! Most improbable…but absolutely certain!