A NOTE FROM PASTOR MARGE
Have you ever had that moment when you thought you were in control and then you suddenly realized you weren’t? I know I have certainly had many of those moments and so did King Herod. Matthew 2:1-11 depicts the two blatantly different reactions between King Herod and the Magi when they realized they were not the ones in control.
Christ has been born and King Herod is ruling over Rome. Magi from the east come to Herod, for they have seen the star and are looking for Jesus. When Herod hears this news, Scripture tells us that he and all of Jerusalem are troubled. Why? These wise men have come to king Herod with good news of great joy that will be for all people but yet Herod and all of Jerusalem are troubled? Herod knew he was not the rightful heir to the Davidic kingdom. He had usurped the throne by aligning himself with Rome. He was concerned about being ousted and the one true King being placed on the throne instead. Herod was concerned about losing his control and the power to the one true King. He was filled with great fear. And not only was Herod troubled but the Bible tells us that all of Jerusalem was troubled too. Why would the Jewish nation, who have been patiently waiting for the Messiah to come for hundreds of years, be troubled with literally the best news? The reaction of Jerusalem being “troubled” gives us some deep insight into the spiritual health of Israel’s leadership at the time. Israel’s leaders had aligned themselves politically with Herod, and if Herod’s power base was threatened, so was theirs. We would expect the religious leadership to celebrate at the report of the birth of the king of Israel, but in reality, the arrival of the true King of the Jews presents a threat to Israel’s corrupt religious and political power. It is sobering to recognize that those who had the greatest opportunity to worship the true King became pawns of the usurper, Herod instead.
But then the Magi react when they come face to face with Jesus. The Bible tells us in Matthew 2:10-11 that “they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy… and fell down and worshipped him.” They personally encountered the Messiah, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Mighty Counselor, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace and their only response was to fall on their knees and worship Him with great joy.
St. Petersburg First United Methodist Church, maybe you spent 2022 like Herod and Jerusalem. Maybe you were too fearful to let go of that control and that power and that pride so that Jesus could be the King of your heart. But do not be afraid. Fear not! Do not worry because a new day and a new year is upon us. We have been given the greatest opportunity to surrender our lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ. My hope and prayer for this church in 2023 is that we would rejoice exceedingly with great joy and worship the one true King, Jesus Christ. Behold our King, the Savior, who is Christ the Lord! Happy New Year, church.
— Pastor Marge