“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: 2,3
Do you see what is going on here? The Magi or ‘Wise Men’ from the east have heard about the birth of Jesus and they want to find Him so that they might worship Him. Herod, King of Judea had a different reaction. Scripture says he was ‘troubled’.
So how does that happen that for the Magi and the shepherds the news of Jesus was ‘good news of great joy’ but for Herod it was troubling? Before we look at a scriptural answer, do you realize that the birth and Person of Jesus have mixed reaction in our day as well?
Think about it. Schools no longer have ‘Christmas’ programs; they have ‘Winter Holiday’ programs, and woe to the school program that has ‘Christmas’ carols! (Thankfully there are still some schools that have not given in to this opposition.) Some retail stores no longer have ‘Christmas’ sales or say, ‘Merry Christmas’ in their ads. ‘Happy holidays’ is the greeting of choice instead. Some employees have even gotten into trouble for wishing their coworkers a ‘Merry Christmas’. Lawsuits have popped up against allowing a Nativity scene in certain locations.
So, you see, even in our day, the birth of Jesus is not always a welcome cause of celebration. Why is that? For one thing, seven hundred years before Jesus came, the prophet Isaiah said of Him, “
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.” Isaiah 53: 3 (NIV)
Of Jesus Himself we read the sad words, “He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.” John 1: 11
The apostle Paul, who himself originally rejected Christ, spoke of his experience after he became a follower of Christ, ‘we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.” 1 Corinthians 1: 23 “
This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” John 3: 19,20
Maybe the Advent preparation you might make at this point, if you have not already, is to be in regular prayer for those people who do not know Jesus, and especially the ones who are most vocal in opposing Him.
Remember, if a Christ hater like a man named Saul could become the mighty apostle of Christ named Paul, similar transformations can occur in our day as well.
“ Almighty God, when I see non-Christ followers on TV or in the news or when I encounter non-believers in person, make me a regular prayer warrior, silently praying that they would come to know and worship Jesus.
Help me to see these people, even those most vocal against Jesus as potential Saul/ Paul transformations. God, help me to make this a regular part of my pre-Christmas preparations.”