Focal passage: Matthew 2:1-12
At the close of 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary selected “selfie” as their word of the year. They defined “selfie” as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”
Geoffrey Nunberg of National Public Radio responded by observing, “When we look back on 2013, we’ll recall this not just as the year when everybody was posting pictures of themselves on social media, but as the year when nobody could stop talking about it.”
What does it say about a culture that its members are obsessed with pictures of themselves?
The biblical answer is clear: it displays that we are hardwired to worship, and because of the Fall we direct that worship towards those made in the image of God rather than toward the One who is the image of God (Colossians 1:15).
Matthew highlights precisely this contrast in His account of the wise men’s visit of Christ. Jesus is worthy of the worship of all nations, and so the magi come asking, “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” (2:2).
However, Matthew continues, “When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled” (2:3). The foreigners from the east came to worship Jesus while Herod plotted to murder Him. Driven by narcissistic self-obsession to maintain his little kingdom, Herod felt threatened – even by a child.
This is the root of sin. Like our first parents in the garden, we too believe that being made in the image of God is not enough; we want to be God.
Like Herod, we want to be in charge. Yet this sets up the great glory of the gospel.
The toddler in the manger is the One who did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but instead humbled Himself even unto the point of death on a cross so that we might turn from our little “selfie” kingdoms and worship the One True King (Philippians 2:6-9).