Herod’s Hard Heart

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem, a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signalled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.”

 

When word of their inquiry got to King Herod, he was terrified—and not Herod alone, but most of Jerusalem as well! Herod lost no time. He gathered all the high priests and religious scholars in the city together and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

 

They told him, “It’s Bethlehem. The scriptures make it plain through the prophet Micah.”

 

Herod then arranged a secret meeting with the scholars from the East. Pretending to be as keen to find and worship the new King as they were, he got them to tell him exactly when the star had appeared. Then he told them the prophecy about Bethlehem, and said, “Go and find this child. Leave no stone unturned. As soon as you find him, send word and I’ll join you at once in your worship.”

 

So they set off. Then the star appeared again! The same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!

 

They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then they opened their luggage and presented gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh.

 

The census traffic was now long gone and there was plenty of room for the scholars to stay the night. Wise as they were, they had no idea that in his heart Herod wanted this King Jesus. But God’s wisdom trumped them all. In a dream, they were warned not to report back to Herod. So they worked out another route, left the territory without being seen, and returned to their own country.

 

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