Are We Herodians or a Christians?
At the time of Jesus’ birth, the Herodians were the loyal followers of King Herod, the king of the Jewish people. History tells us he was somewhat less than noble, having killed two of his own sons to protect his power and slaughtering innocent children in a vain attempt to kill the Messiah. In comparison, the Maji, gentiles, traveled a great distance to find the Messiah whom they most likely heard of through legends passed down through time. Their objective was do the new born king of the Jews homage.
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” (Matthew 2:1-2)
How can it be that Herod, king of the Jews, who knew the Messiah was to bring salvation to the Jewish people, not only rejected that salvation, but sought to eradicate any evidence of it from the face of the earth?
When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet:
‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:3-6)
Why were the chief priests, scribes and all of the people troubled? If the star signaled the arrival of the Messiah, shouldn’t they have been overjoyed?
Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance.
He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way. (Matthew 2:7-12)
The unusual event of the brilliant star rising above all of Jerusalem must have been visible for all to see. Why did not the entirety of the Jewish people follow the star to Bethlehem? The birthplace of the “Bread of Life” in the town whose name means “house of bread.” Based on scripture, we understand Jesus, Mary and Joseph were visited by the Maji and poor shepherds. There were no throngs of adoring disciples.
Herod valued his own power and influence over the lives of his own children and those of his subjects. In a moment in time he made a choice which indicated how he would be known for all of human history. He could have chosen to seek out Jesus, do him homage and protect him with all his power and might. Instead, he rejected Jesus with all his power and might.
The scribes and chief priests could have sought out the Holy Family, adored the Christ child as the Maji did and then warned the family of impending doom. Unwilling or blinded by their own sin, they all chose to remain in their own comfortable positions of authority and power. The Jewish people, due to a lost ability to discern the signs of the times missed the opportunity welcome their Messiah.
- How often do we do remain in comfort instead of proclaiming Christ as Savior of the world?
- What we willing to lose when we are presented with the choice our faith over worldly measures of success?
- Is our prayer life such that we can see God’s plan for our life?
Our choices each day either bring us closer to Christ or further from Him. There is no middle ground. As modern day “Herodians” we often choose the comfort of remaining exactly where we are without rejecting the profound change that our Christianity will call us to. Christianity in the world today is not going to be comfortable. Yet, eternal bliss with Christ is worth any discomfort we may have here.
God gives each of us all the grace we need for salvation. We have no excuses. If our goal is to become a saint and we set forth on that mission with our heart and eyes focused on Christ, our destiny will be heaven. Our exterior actions matter as they are reflections of our inner spiritual life.
Like Mary, Mother of God, let us keep our eyes, hearts and minds focused on her Son, Jesus Christ, Savior of the World.
Are we Herodians or Christians?
JMJ, pray for us!
God is good.