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Advent Readings: Day 21

For this Advent season we offer you a Bible reading for each day which points to the first coming of the Lord Jesus at Christmas and his return in glory!

Matthew 2:1 - 11

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.”

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and or myrrh.

A few comments

Herod should terrify us. It’s not that he is that much more hideous than other dictators in history, or that this dead man has any power now. The terrifying thing is what he represents: Here is a man who studies the Bible and believes its teaching about the birth of the Messiah Jesus Christ, but his heart is utterly hardened to Jesus.

Herod does not fear God or love the truth, but he does fear any man who might be a rival to his rule, so he seeks to destroy the baby. The Magi – the wise men – fear God not man, so they obey God’s dream and ignore Herod’s instructions. And they love the truth so they stop at nothing to find and worship this foreign king. None of us are quite in Herod’s position, but for all of us Jesus is a direct challenge to our autonomy. He claims to be the rightful king of our lives. The question for all of us therefore, is this: will we seek him out and worship him as the wise men did, or ignore/reject him as that fool Herod did?

Point for Prayer

That we would recognise Jesus as our rightful king and give our whole lives over to worship him. Confess the areas of life where we are still wrestling him for control.