1Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2saying, “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.” 3When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
It might seem a little ironic that at a time like this when most of this season is filled with so much joy, peace and festivities—especially among the believing—that the news of Jesus’ birth brought so much trouble to people’s lives in Jesus’ day. The text says that when Herod the King heard that a baby was born who was being proclaimed as the king of the Jews that not only was his heart troubled, but all of Jerusalem was troubled with him.
It should not surprise us that we are followers of a great King who not only brings peace to the world, but a sword. Friends, families, nations and the world are divided over the person of Jesus. And why is this? Because whenever King Jesus shows up there is always a division that happens—there are those who come from far to worship, and then there are those who are greatly troubled.
You might notice that you can get away with talking about Mohammed, or Buddha, or the Greek gods without much conflict, however, the same is not true of Jesus. Jesus brings division. You are either for Him, or against Him. And because He is the pivotal character of all the world, the world must decide. Even look at how this Christmas season is a point of conflict for the world. They are trying to keep the celebration while eliminating Jesus from it—as if there would then be a reason to celebrate.
Jesus is the King, and this Christmas season we do celebrate that peace on earth has come, but we also know that Jesus came to bring about this peace by warring against the kingdom of darkness. And this war he leads through His church. Yet we are those who do not wage war as the world wages war, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty in the Lord for tearing down strongholds and everything that exalts itself against the knowledge of Christ.
So let’s have a merry Christmas, and refresh ourselves as we know that the battle belongs to the Lord.
—Pastor Dean Hellekson, Christ Covenant Church, Lynwood, Washington
Heavenly Father, we praise you for giving us a King, and for causing us to bow the knee and worship the King. We know that apart from Your kindness we would be like Herod, and would fear and hate You. But because of Your mercy, we have been brought near to the throne of grace. And for that we give thanks. May we always be loyal to our King. May we always honor our King. And may this be a year where His kingdom of light destroys the kingdom of darkness. And may we as His servants take courage, trusting in the power of Your might, and do our part in taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. AMEN.
Discuss as a family the specific areas where you see the conflict between Jesus and the world. How is King Jesus, not even welcomed in some of our churches? Where and how is he hated in the political realm? What would it look like in our culture if we submitted to Jesus in every aspect of our life?