As the wise men ventured into Jerusalem seeking the toddler-king of the Jews they got a pretty shocking reaction, after they started asking around Matthew says in v.3 of ch.2 that “When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
Herod’s reaction is not shocking. He knew when he heard this that his job as Caesar’s puppet-king was over so it’s not a surprise that this news riled him up. What is shocking is that it wasn’t just Herod who was troubled but “all Jerusalem with him.” You would expect the average citizen to be excited about their new king.
Well, you might say, maybe they just didn’t get the memo. Maybe they really thought it was a rival king or maybe Herod had manipulated them. No, it’s worse than that. They knew exactly what was going on. We know that on two separate occasions the news of the Messiah’s arrival had spread through Jerusalem before the wisemen came. The first time Luke says in ch.2 v.18 that when the people heard about the birth of the Messiah they “marveled”. They were filled with wonder and were amazed at the news. The second time a prophetess Anna came and told Jerusalem that redemption had arrived. So Jerusalem wasn’t troubled due to their ignorance; they were troubled due to their arrogance. They knew the truth.
They marveled at the fact that the Messiah had come to rule with an Iron rod, but cowered at the thought of Him actively ruling their hearts. They were excited that he had come to take away sin, but were troubled when they realized that they’d have to confess their search history. And on top of all that they preferred the artificial peace of Herod to the Holy war of their rightful King.
It is easy, during this time of year, to fall into the same pattern. It’s easy to marvel that Christ came to take away sin all while disguising envy and bitterness as jokes and then hurling them at others like snowballs with rocks in them. See it is not enough to simply hear the truth. It’s not even enough to hear the truth and be amazed! You must also lay down your sins in faith and submit to Jesus Christ.
Jeremiah Jasso – December 10, 2023