2017-12-07 - The Innocents
The Christmas Characters Series, Part 15
Author's Note: This is a new entry in a set of Advent devotions that were written earlier called the Christmas Characters series. If you would like to find them go to our Special Series page and find the "Christian Characters" listed in the left side menu. The Christmas Characters devotions listed across several years. Merry Christmas!
Matt 2:7-8 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
The Magi came from the east following a new star in the sky. A new star was often considered a sign of the birth of a new king. When they arrived in Jerusalem and met with King Herod. When they asked Herod, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?", Herod feared for his throne. A little research pointed to Bethlehem as the Christ would be born. So Herod makes the false promise in Matt 2:8 and sends the Magi on to find the threat to his throne. After visiting the child, Who could have been as old as two years when found Him, they were warned by God in a dream to return avoiding Herod. God knew Herod had hardened his heart rather than accepting God's long promised ruler.
Once Herod realized he had been fooled he was furious. Then Herod ordered soldiers to go to the area around Bethlehem and kill any male child two years of age or younger. The sole reason for the callous order was to protect his position as King. God protected Jesus by instructing Joseph to take the family and escape to Egypt before Herod had acted. In his rage he fooled himself into believing that he had control of his throne when it is God who controls who is in authority (Colossians 1:16). The family was safe until after Herod's death and they were able to return to Nazareth.
There are times when people will act as though they know better than God. It is estimated that something around 20 children were slain and probably some parents died trying to protecting their young sons. This is a terrible and extreme case. Sometimes it is difficult to surrender to changes, even for Christians in much simpler circumstances. Sometimes we learn the hard way, but hopefully we learn.
What we can take from this is that God's plans are not thwarted. Jesus grew and fulfilled His mission to redeem mankind from sin and death. I've said before that Christmas, Jesus' birth, is the first day of Easter. There were pieces that were moved on the chessboard over many years before this where the Jewish people were given the promised land, where God allowed the exile and return of the Jewish nation to Israel, where prophets and kings left their mark - good and bad - on Israel, until Jesus was born, God in human flesh, as promised and lived a perfect, sinless life as He walked His path to the cross.
Matt 2:18 “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.