According to the report, 2% of people are daring enough to CONFRONT THE GIFT-GIVER—Let’s pick up the first response in the book of Matthew 2, the wise men are on their way to find the (Matthew 2:1-6) After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him (Jerusalem here represents more than just your average Joe on the street, instead it alludes to the political and religious leaders (Herodians)—people who look at the gift as lousy because it highlights all they might lose). 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah 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.’”
By digging into Scripture, he narrows down the target for confrontation: Bethlehem takes the torrent of his torture as he kills all those 2 years and younger—trying to crush any competing claim to the crown. All Herod can think about as he hears about the gift of the Messiah, the king of the Jews, is not what is to be gained, not the greatness of God’s incarnation, but what he might lose. Have you ever met anyone who tried to give themselves a nickname? Steven aka “speedy”! Herod the Great was the same; it wasn’t a name the people gave him. He had only come to power by partnering with the Romans. The people despised Herod, who was great at spending their money on huge architectural projects and who was only great in his willingness to cling to power—killing at least one wife and 2 sons. Here is what is telling, Herod had the information about Jesus, but he never opened himself up for intimacy with Jesus. He was too scared of what he might lose.
Maybe there is more Herod in us than we would like to admit. Shawn Johnson seemingly was on top of the world. She was America’s Sweetheart nicknamed Bubbly and Peanut at all of 4’11, and an U.S. Olympic gymnast at the top of her craft—and yet behind all the interviews and accolades, there were expectations. There was fear of what would be lost if she didn’t measure up. Then after going into the 2008 Olympics favored to win 4 gold medals…She didn’t. (2:09-4:53) Check out her “I AM SECOND.”
Yet Jesus confronts us with the truth: What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Herod spent his whole life trying to outrun something—he had 10 wives trying to outrun age, killed hundreds trying to outrun the end, built huge buildings trying to outrun history! Yet the end always comes outside of Jesus. He never found what Paul did—But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. The problem is that we can sit in church collecting information, staying up on ideas, weighing opinions, maybe even quoting scripture and spout theology. Yet, the problem is information without intimacy leaves us empty—without knowing what Jesus offers we will forever run up against a fear of what would be lost if we really committed or changed. Let chasing a constantly changing target.