Scripture: Matthew 2:1-18
The Background
§Matthew’s account of Christ’s birth unlike Luke is somber, with threat and murder
§In this account there is a seeking group of wisemen whose journey has been long but whose enthusiasm cannot be curtailed
§However, in some way the story has a spoilsport- King Herod
•Called as Herod ‘The Great’, he was Idumean
•The history between Edom and Israel always was engaged in battle
•Palestine of Jesus’ time was under constant threat from Egypt and Syria…The Hasmoneans
•Pompey establishes a high priest of his choice
•Herod by age 15 had showed his prowess by being daring, ruthless and without conscience
•Comprised of many building projects including the temple
•No man or woman was safe under his rule
•A fire of madness had begotten him
•He kept himself in the good books of Augustus Caesar
•In order to keep the Jews constantly under his thumb he put up the Roman eagle at the entrance of the Temple
•Hence, at the time of Jesus’ birth it was a hostile and uncertain environment

•The seeking wise men’s question disturbed this suspicious, bloodthirsty, ruthless tyrant
•The whole of Herod’s palace and Jerusalem was equally disturbed (2:3)
•He is quick to usher the right resource to give him the knowledge he needs
•It would affect his pride to go in search of Jesus…further his going would only affirm to the people whom he had kept under his thumb that their King had come
The Bethlehem Massacre
•The mad man’s rampage saw the death of all male children two years and below in Bethlehem 
•Herod was sure his calculations would eradicate the threat from this ‘King of the Jews’
•Little did he know that God had safely kept his son in Egypt, so that a prophesy would yet again be fulfilled (Hosea 11:1)
•The movement from Nazareth to Galilee on return was also a fulfillment of a prophecy.
The King Jesus
•Unlike Herod Jesus would establish his Kingdom not in buildings but in individuals (Lk 17:21)
•Unlike Herod Jesus was not looking for an earthly throne to be seated upon, though it was offered to him (Matt 4:8-10)
•Unlike Herod for Jesus no earthly power could shake him of what God the Father would fulfill
•Unlike Herod Jesus would not take lives but would give life eternal to those who believe in him (Is 53:5; Jn 3:16)
Take Away: Don’t let the essential truth of Christmas depart from your walk of discipleship