December 19, 2010

A Troubled City

Matthew 2:1-18

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.
Matthew 2:3


The city of Jerusalem was troubled—not because of corruption or poverty or the Roman occupation. The city was troubled because the Messiah had come. How strange! A city that should have been celebrating this good news was troubled. The city of David, which prophets had predicted to be the birthplace of David’s greatest Son, was in distress because prophesy was finally fulfilled.

The city was troubled because King Herod was troubled. Herod had held onto his kingdom for 40 long years through sheer brutality. The suspicion that a rival king had been born fired his paranoia and fueled his fears. And a fearful Herod was a dangerous Herod. When he felt threatened, everyone felt threatened.

The coming of the Savior meant conflict and confrontation. For years, Satan had tried to keep the Savior from coming, and he would use King Herod in a last-ditch effort to destroy people’s hope. Herod put to death the boys in Bethlehem up to two years old, causing “weeping and great mourning.”

Today Satan is still trying to keep God’s people from celebrating the coming of Jesus. But in spite of persecution and every attempt to keep Christ out of Christmas, the Lord has come. That calls for celebration, no matter what!

Father, please keep our eyes on you and on King Jesus. Deliver us from the evil one, who tries to keep us from celebrating. Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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