Mine Creek Baptist Church
Responses to the King
Preacher Chris Rathbone
The Book of Matthew, chapter 2, verses 1-12, tells us the story of the wise men that came to visit Jesus. Although a lot of Christmas plays, and Nativity scenes portray the wise men there with Mary and Joseph shortly after the birth of Christ, the scripture states in verse 11 that they visited at a house. The journey that they took, most scholars believe, would have made Jesus about 2 years old when these events took place. Also, Herod demanded the male children be put to death 2 years and under, according to the time he had inquired of the wise men (verse 16).
In this text we find 3 characters represented and how they responded to the news of a new king who had been born. First there is the Hypocritical Herod. When Herod heard the news from the wise men, his first response was troubled. Though he stated he wanted to worship this new king, his true motive was to kill him. On the outside, his inquiry to the news seemed to be genuine, but his actions later on gave away his true motive. Herod said one thing with his words, but acted another way with his life. He wanted no king over him. He was his own king. His response was one of rejection. What was truly in his heart was manifested by his actions to seek out and kill the Christ child because he wanted nothing to do with him. Herod even believed the scriptures the chief priests and scribes read to him, but his response was all out rejection. This is the response of many today when they hear the news of One who has come as our king. Many do not want Christ to be king of their lives, so they simply reject the message of hope and promise given to us in the scriptures. By their deeds, they show who their king really is, and it is usually themselves!
The next characters represented by this story are the Blind Bible teachers. I am amazed when I read this portion of scripture and see such an indifferent response by the Bible teachers of that day to the news of the birth of the promised Messiah. The very ones who should have been overwhelmed with joy by the news of the promised Messiah were the ones who seemed to show the least interest. These were the religious leaders of the day. They pointed Herod to the scriptures which foretold the Messiah’s birth. They seemed to have head knowledge, but no heart knowledge. They were so busy keeping their rules and rituals and memorizing their scripture, they missed the point of God wanting to change them in their hearts. They were ones who had a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof, ever seeking knowledge but never coming to the truth (II Timothy 3: 5 & 7). There was religion with no relationship. Shouldn’t they have been the ones to recognize what had happened? Why did they not follow these wise men to Bethlehem to find this new born king if they truly believed the scriptures? This head knowledge only had led them to a place of indifferent response. James calls faith without works dead faith (James 2:17). Certainly, if their faith had been genuine, there would have been a genuine response. Again, we see this response of many today. There is a form of religion in their lives, but no evidence of them responding to Christ as their king. They hear the message, possibly even know the scriptures, but continue to live a life of indifference toward the message of the King!
Last of all we see these wise men as Sincere Seekers. These were those who responded in genuine faith and acceptance. How do we know this? We see it by their response to what God had shown them. They believed this wonder in the heavens to be an act of God who was revealing that He was doing something in the world. God was announcing that He had kept His promise of a Messiah. When these wise men saw this, they believed and responded. They began their journey to see this King personally. They searched out and found further confirmation from the chief priests and scribes in the scriptures. Again, they responded in faith and continued their journey toward the King. And last of all, we see these Sincere Seekers fall down before the child King and worship Him. Truly their response to the King was sincere and genuine! There faith had determined how they responded!
What is your response this Christmas season to the news that will be preached and proclaimed by pastors, teachers, scriptures, and through many Christmas hymns and programs? God has kept His promise to man! The King has come, the Messiah has come, and the message is being proclaimed! How will you respond? Will you respond in rejection as Herod did? Will you simply respond with indifference to the King? Or will you respond in genuine faith and start your journey to your King?! Spread the news Christians! The King has come and is waiting for a response from all!