My Thoughts. . .
Thursday, February 7, 2019
“Now after Jesus was born . . . behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, . . . Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, . . . he sent them to Bethlehem . . . “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” . . . being divinely warned . . . that they should not return to Herod, they departed . . . Herod, saw that he was deceived by the wise men, . . . sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under” (Matthew 2:1-2, 7-8, 12, 16).
Knowing the biblical record, students will understand that Herod did not want to worship Jesus. A new king in town was a threat to his throne. According to Josephus, the Jewish historian, Herod didn’t mind killing some of his family members, so aborting a baby from that throne would be easy. His 37-year reign was marked by numerous problems that threatened it. He probably thought this one would be the easiest to solve.
Herod’s Bible scholars knew this Messiah baby would be born in Bethlehem, but the exact spot was unknown. Since it was tax time, there would be a larger population to deal with, so it was advantageous to wait until the crowd had gone home. The important visit by the Eastern caravan may have alerted him to that royal birth, but he probably wanted to wait until they returned to pinpoint for him that baby king’s exact location. The wise men didn’t oblige by returning to reveal Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ address.
Herod had been appointed as “King of the Jews” by the Roman Senate. He was viewed as being successful by some and as a tyrant by others. His greatest success was in expanding the second Temple. This was the temple whose destruction was prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 24. What is ironic is that when Herod’s Temple was finished, God destroyed it by using the Roman army.
Some of Herod’s tyranny is seen in Matthew’s passage. The wise men apparently visited and worshiped Jesus shortly after his circumcision in Jerusalem, then headed home (Matthew 2:13-14). Herod probably gave them a few weeks to return and when it became evident that they would not, decided to send his soldiers on their rampage. He wasn’t satisfied with killing newborns, he wanted to make sure. All male children from newborns to two years of age were slaughtered. He kept those parents from experiencing their son’s “terrible twos.”
It’s interesting that when abortion was legalized in the USA, it could not be performed after 20-22 weeks of pregnancy, unless the mother’s life was in jeopardy. Abortionists claimed it would stop there! Wishful thinking by some, deception by others! Now, Democrat politicians allow it to be performed on the innocent seconds before birth. Some would allow it to happen after that event. One wonders if said politicians will follow Herod’s actions and reach out and include the twos or beyond?
What if the wise men had returned to Herod and given him that address? Wouldn’t a multitude of children have moved past one and two rather than be murdered before three? Why does God allow men like Herod to practice such evil in this world? God gave Herod the same thing that he has given you and me. It is called “choice.” Herod chose his way of life and you and I have been given that same opportunity. So, why have you made your choice to live as you now are?