December 23: King of the Jews, The Christ of Christmas

Read Matthew 2:1-18

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2a).

As Americans, we have our own preconceived (and perhaps negative and misguided) notions about the title “king.” Vague memories of American history have left a bitter royal taste in our mouths. The king? Wasn’t that part of why we settled here? Wasn’t it in part the king’s abuses that caused us to declare and fight for independence? Taxation without representation . . . should anyone have that kind of authority to call others to action without inviting their input? Perhaps that is part of why many shudder at the idea of a king.

Maybe we have a bit of King Herod within us. When men showed up suggesting that there was another king, he felt the tension of competition. After all, he was the king. He enjoyed the sense of independence, autonomy, and authority. When he gave a decree, others responded. He he didn’t have to check with or submit to anyone. He was in charge of his own life. Those were good feelings. Oh, he had an interest in this other king, alright. But his interest was only to see that He was destroyed. We can be like that, wanting to be the ones to call the shots and willing to oppose any rival.

But we need to become like the magi . . . surrender our independence and see King Jesus as someone to embrace. Remember, they came looking for the “king of the Jews” (v. 2).  Not “looking” in the same way the present day paparazzi or London tourist looks for members of the royal family. No, they were searching for Him because they wanted to worship Him. And as they encountered the Christ child, the magi did two unusual things. First, they . . . try to picture this in your mind’s eye . . . they bowed down before Him. He was somewhere between infancy and his toddling twos . . . and they demonstrated reverence like that? They sure did! Secondly, they presented Him with gifts . . . gold, incense, and myrrh. Those were gifts fit for a king not for your average baby.

Don’t allow your clouded picture of a king to keep you from Jesus. Rather than viewing Him as a competitor to ignore or eliminate, see Him as one worthy of your greatest sacrifice and your deepest surrender. Worship Him today . . . and every day.


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