December 26, 2014

Power Upset

Matthew 2:7-8

Herod … said, “Go and search carefully for the child … so that I too may go and worship him.”
—Matthew 2:8


The calm nativity scene that we associate with the Christmas season can distract us into thinking that Jesus’ coming can be reduced to a quaint story about a special birth. The images of angels, shepherds, and a manger can become idyllic in our minds. But Jesus came to break sin’s grip on the world, and that was a declaration of war.

When Herod heard that a new king might be living in his land, he took drastic steps to protect his power. With characteristic heartlessness, he aimed to destroy this child that dared to threaten his power. Herod wanted to send a clear message that his position should not be challenged.

Why would Herod be so irrational? Didn’t he realize this was just a child? Had his lust for power made him so delusional that he would put innocent children to death? His actions cannot be defended.

But Herod did not underestimate Jesus. This newborn king could (and would) change everything.

If we think of Jesus as a Savior who loves us and rescues us, but we do not realize that he calls us to a new way of living, then we might not grasp what Herod understood. Jesus Christ came to reclaim God’s creation. When he calls us to be his followers, we must be willing to give up our selfish desires and shift our priorities to do his will.

Lord Jesus, I belong to you. Help me to give up my selfish desires, as I realize the kind of submission you desire from me. I pray in your name. Amen.

About the author — Bill Sytsma

Bill Sytsma is a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min). He is the author of the book Follow the Leader and is serving as the pastor of New Life Christian Reformed Church in Highland, Indiana. He and his wife, Staci, have hosted support groups for families built through adoption. He and Staci are the proud parents of three active boys: Luke, Isaac, and Nico.

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