“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold,
there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
When Herod the king had heard these things,
he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
I’ve read this passage numerous times and heard it read almost the same amount but never had I been struck by the last bit there as I was this past Holiday season. Really, I heard it mentioned in a message at my church but it wasn’t dwelt upon, merely skimmed over before moving on but my mind stopped. My heart began meditating on that phrase, “… he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”
Why? Herod wasn’t a believer, so why did he care?
Well, as reigning “king of the Jews” at the time the news of the next king being born outside of his own house was essentially treason. Herod had a legitimate reason to be troubled. But it was more than that. If the Scriptures merely said that Herod was troubled, OK. That makes sense. But all Jerusalem with him?
As I thought more about this passage my mind came up with two reasons why the coming of Jesus Christ would trouble so many and I began to see parallels between the anxiety of the masses back then and the “anxiety” if you will of the masses today. Bear with me a bit and I’ll show you what I’m talking about.
- Herod’s position and power were threatened.
As I mentioned, Herod was the regent at the time and so the birth of Christ presented a bit of a problem for him. His position and even his life were being threatened by his way of thinking and so he was determined to root out and dispose of the newborn before he grew up and led an uprising against Herod’s house.Today, nobody is being threatened quite in this way but the mentality is still there.
Unbelievers view themselves as being “in charge” of their own lives and when they are presented with the idea of Christ as King and Lord of their life, their self-preservation kicks in and they may become resistant to the idea of Christ. Satan tells them that if they accept Christ and “step down” to allow Him to take control then they will be the slaves of the Conquering King and all will be lost.
Those who claim to know Christ are not immune to this mentality either. So often we slide back into the old mentality and lifestyle and become lazy in our relationship with God. It’s easier to walk in the flesh than it is to daily surrender to the Lord’s will. You see, while He is Conquering King, He is also our loving Heavenly Father Who has given us a free will. We are faced daily, sometimes every moment of the day, with the decision to either serve God or surrender ourselves to the enslavement of Satan.
Just because He is our King, that doesn’t mean we’ve accepted Him as our Lord. There IS a difference.
- Herod’s lifestyle was threatened.
As the king at the time, Herod enjoyed a pretty lavish lifestyle. He was an unbelieving man with access to unlimited pleasures and he most likely took full advantage of them. The Bible tells us that all of Jerusalem troubled just as much as Herod was. At the time, many in Jerusalem were what you might call “dedicated” to their Jewish faith. Idolatry was prevalent and sin was rampant. You could say the Jews and Herod were all in the same boat.In today’s society we have more pleasures, comforts, and “idols” readily at our disposal than ever before. Both saved and unsaved alike are prone to gather to themselves as much earthly gain as they can and people are falling left and right to the pleasures of this life. Instead of looking to Christ for our fulfillment and our joy we flock to sporting events, shopping malls, and movie theaters searching for something – anything – to fill the void we feel within us. Instead of digging into God’s Word when we feel lonely or empty we turn to Facebook, Instagram, chat rooms, or even pornography in search of companionship and fulfillment.
Saved and unsaved alike are troubled by Jesus because He threatens their way of thinking and living. Don’t be intimidated by Him! The way of life He’s offering is so much better than anything you can find anywhere else.
As a Believer, I have been challenged by these rough thoughts both as they relate to my own life and to the lost souls that I come in contact with on a daily basis. I’ve been encouraged by the understanding that God is my Father and He only wants what’s best for me, so when I’m troubled and don’t understand what His plan may be I know I can rest in Him. I don’t have to worry or be troubled. He tells me in His word to “… have faith in God.” (Mark 11:22) He’s never given me any reason to doubt Him in the past so why should I start now? All of my fulfillment and companionship may be found in Him if I will take the time to seek His face (trust me, there’s a blog post coming soon about that!!!).
As it relates to the unsaved, I need to take a step back and imagine where they’re coming from. We all know someone who has never accepted Christ and I’m sure we can all think of at least one person we’ve been praying for for years. I’ve found myself in the past getting slightly irritated and exasperated with people who hear me out about the Gospel, say they completely understand it, and still say they just aren’t ready to accept Christ.
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! WHAT ARE THEY WAITING FOR?!
Have you ever been there? Forcing myself to try to put myself in Herod’s shoes has made me look at situations like these differently. Knowing the love of Christ as a child of God can make it challenging to imagine viewing Him from the “other side” of salvation but that’s really what we should be doing. Try to remember what it was like before you accepted Christ. Your view and understanding of Him was probably different than it is now, right? When talking to a lost person, try to put yourself in their shoes. Be transparent with them. Don’t be afraid to let them know you’ve been in their shoes before, you’ve walked that path, and show them the difference that Christ has made. Acknowledge their hesitations – don’t dismiss them – and give them reassurance and comfort. Never be afraid or embarrassed to share your own testimony – that may be exactly what they need to hear.
To each person reading this post, whether a believer or not. We each have a decision to make. You see, the “trouble with Jesus” is that it’s easier to simply continue doing what we’ve always done, but Christ has a higher calling for you and I.
Are you willing and able to answer that call?