Focal Passage: Matthew 2:1-15
Several years ago a lady visited our church. She attended about a half dozen services, and then I didn’t hear from her again until about two months ago. She called me, explaining she was moving to the mountains and needed help moving furniture and boxes from her mobile home into a U-Haul. We undertook the job as a mission project for our youth ministry, and upon completing the task, Charlotte offered to give something to the church. I told her “please, no,” this was a project we wanted to do and were glad to help her. One of the lessons we try to teach our young people is that we are to be “givers, not takers.”
Today’s lesson is about two different responses to the birth of Jesus. Will we be like the magi or will we be like Herod? Will we be givers or takers? Will we be selfless or selfish?
The wise men or magi represented the selfless givers. They had traveled for many days over a long distance to see the new king.
Fittingly, they brought gifts appropriate for royalty. Although they were masters of astronomy and astrology, they were unsure where this king might be found.
They assumed that he would be in the capital city of Jerusalem, and that King Herod would know his whereabouts. They were wrong on both accounts. Yet, they continued to follow the star God had provided and found Mary and the child Jesus in a house in Bethlehem, just as Micah the prophet had foretold.
Herod the king represented the selfish takers. He was a vindictive and ruthless man. He lived in paranoia, afraid that someone else might take away his throne and power. History tells us he killed many of his own family members, including his “favorite” wife. Therefore, it is not surprising that Herod madly sought to kill the Christ Child.
You see, Herod was a taker. The most important person in his world was himself. He had no room for Jesus, and he would die a miserable, pitiful, pathetic man.