“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.” Matthew 2:2
Matthew introduces us to three sets of people – the stargazers, the Jewish religious leaders, the secular king -- with three different responses to the birth of Jesus.
The magi travel from afar, following a star in search of a king. They enter Jerusalem, the natural place to get more intel on where to find this king of the Jews. Surely the current king of Jerusalem, Herod, or the Jewish religious rulers would know where to look.
The religious leaders, who studied, memorized, and taught the Scriptures constantly; the ones who knew all the prophecies by heart instantly respond, ‘Bethlehem’ when asked about the birthplace of their Messiah.
And while they pass this information on to Herod and the magi, they stay put. The journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem is approximate six miles on relatively flat terrain, walkable in a couple of hours. Six short miles for what they have been anticipating for hundreds of long years. Yet, they don’t go. They are content in the lives they have built in the waiting. They aren’t even curious enough to go check it out. They miss Jesus.
Meanwhile, King Herod is filled with anger. He is not going to stand for any other king threatening his societal and political power and position. His plan is to destroy this child, even if means killing every male child two years old and younger in the land he is in charge of leading.
The magi go. They were paying attention. They saw the star. They sought out its significance. They searched for the king. They traveled a great distance. They worshiped and brought gifts. They weren’t about to miss Jesus, even though they didn’t fully understand what His birth meant.
Three characters. Three responses to the birth of the Messiah.
Questions: Where do you find yourself? How do you see these different responses play out in our culture today?