Matthew 2:1-3 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
King Herod was a ruler with no rights to the throne he occupied. He was an Edomite (a descendent of Esau) appointed by the Romans to rule over Israel. His fear of a rival to his throne led him to murder even his own family members. His priority was protecting his throne at all costs.
Into such an environment the wise men came, seeking the true King of Israel – He who has been born King of the Jews. And suddenly Herod is confronted with yet another rival and the throne must again be defended. There was no confusion in his mind concerning the meaning of such a thing, for he then inquires where the Christ is to be born. Fully aware that this newborn King is the promised Messiah, he sets about devising a murderous plan to rid himself of this rival as well. It is shocking to read of the brutal measures he was willing to take to secure this end.
But are we any different?
Maybe I have never murdered anyone, but I have certainly gone to great lengths to protect the throne of rulership of my life. Feeling competent and entitled to reign, I have ruled my life according to my own desires, usually with devastating consequences. But even then I have protected my throne.
Becoming a Christian changed this to a large degree. I can gladly acknowledge that the throne is Christ’s, but I find that there are still times that I feel like I should be co-regent, at the very least giving input into decisions. However, Christ does not require my input, only my obedience.
So as I walk this path of faith, I am learning that I still need to protect the throne. But now I am protecting it from myself.