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Advent 2015: Born Is The King: Day 25

Jesus Is King

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Today's Text: Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 2:1-12

Text: Isaiah 11:1-10, Matthew 2:1-12

“When you find Him,” Herod told the visitors, “come back and tell me where He is. I have a little something of my own I want to give Him” (Matthew 2:8, paraphrased).

After hearing him out, the Magi left for Bethlehem. It wasn’t long before their familiar star rose again, leading them like a shepherd leads its sheep to a house on the outskirts of town.

When they found the King, it was no wonder He was nothing more than a murmur in Jerusalem. They entered the place where He lay and beheld a child in the arms of a young woman, practically still a girl.

There was no crown or majesty that would attract them to Him, no miracle they could see, no signs of greatness. Just a woman and her child. But there was something about that moment that only the woman, her husband, the Magi, and the child knew—something that bent the knees of those scholars to the posture of worship when they saw Him. This child was a King.

One of the Magi moved forward and produced a purse of gold, laying it at the child’s feet. Another came with a flask of myrrh, then another with a box of frankincense. Unaware that they were funding a hasty trip to Egypt necessitated by Herod’s paranoia, they gave these gifts for no other reason than to honor the one born King of the Jews.

He wasn’t even their king. Israel’s God was not their people’s god. And yet, they had come because the thought of a God of mercy with healing in His wings must have awakened in them a desire to be close to the one through whom that healing would flow. They followed the star, and after countless miles of sojourn, they found the King.

It was a quite a feat. They would rest well.

But that night as they drifted into a deep sleep of satisfaction, an angel, unfamiliar to them but well-known to Mary, stepped into their dreams and painted for them the bloody truth of who Herod really was and what he meant to do to this child. The angel warned them to take another route home (Matthew 2:12).

Herod’s motives were murderous. History would remember him not only dripping with the blood of his own wives and sons, but with the blood of countless others, mostly boys under the age of two. But not this boy king. Herod would not take His life (John 10:18).

The Magi departed for home in secret, avoiding the area around Jerusalem.

written by Russ Ramsey
adapted from Behold the Lamb of God: An Advent Narrative

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  • He is beautiful in all His ways! How our God knew Herod’s heart, how He knew the Magi needed to bring gifts, how He knew sweet unassuming Mary would need to flee with her Baby and would need those funds to do so…my mind is reeling! God, thank you for knowing the details of our stories before we can even wrap our heads around them. You fascinate me!

  • There is a song called “how many kings” that relates 100% to today’s reading and also the song “Mary did you know”

    • Dianne

      How Many Kings is one of my favorites. It’s simple yet powerful! It’s by Downhere.

  • By far, one of the greatest devotionals I’ve experienced. It’s all scripture based and inspired, and it’s a gorgeous work of art. I say experienced because it’s real.
    The Christmas story is real. Christmas, without Christ, would just be Mas. Without Christ, we’d be a sad world, much sadder than how it currently is. We need Christ, and thank God we received Him 2000 years ago.

    • Kylee

      Amen, Hope! I’m loving this accompaniment to the verses. Brings me to tears every morning. How great is our God, how beautiful His son!

  • I am so thankful for SRT and the community of Christian souls commenting here. I am seeing new & beautiful perspectives of who God really is. Hopeful that my heart, & not just my mind, will once again be filled with the overwhelming spirit of praise & worship that you all exude. Merriest Christmas to you all.

    • She Reads Truth

      Bryce, so thankful for YOU, friend! Thanks for joining us! Merry Christmas!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

    • Andrea

      Bryce I feel the exact same way! Thank you SRT and all of you in this community leaving comments here. I feel so inspired by you and in awe of Jesus, who led me here and is building my faith day by day!

  • I love how the economy of God is never wasted. Everything He does is for a purpose that only He knows. When the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC all of her people were exiled and scattered (2 Kings 17). However, when the southern kingdom of Judah was conquered by Babylonia in about 605 BC Nebuchadnezzar carried off into captivity many of Judah’s best young men, including Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 1:1-6). Isn’t it possible that when these young men refused to give up their love for God that their lives, scripture and teachings could’ve influenced scholars of Chaldea in such a way that years later even the Magi knew how to read and understand them? What man meant for evil God meant for good (Genesis 50:10). To God be the glory!

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    I love that the Lord used ordinary people to birth the King! An unwed teenager. A carpenter. All in a manger. It reminds me that he wants to use me and everyone else to birth miracles as well!
    http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Jesus is obviously not the kind of King that we usually see in this world. He was born in a stable and proclaimed by angels. His parents were unheard of and wise men from the East came to see him. He was born in Bethlehem, the smallest, and his earthly lineage is of King David.

    And His rule is unlike any ever heard of as well. He reigns as King and acts as shepherd. He judges the nations and takes their punishment. He controls all the earth and He lives in our hearts. I know no other word to fully describe Jesus than Jesus! We mustn’t forget of His full power and complete love, two aspects of His character that I am discovering more and more aren’t contradictory to each other but complementary. For His power increases His grace, and His grace expands His power! And the Nativity Story beautifully illustrates this truth! Let us stop trying to balance out these seemingly opposite sides of God’s character, His righteous justice and unending mercy, and let’s pray for the Creator God of Love fill our hearts with joy as we discover that He is one God and all of His character complements itself. And He is with us. Immanuel!

  • Kay Cook

    Never noticed this: “when they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding joy…” (Matt 2:10). Wow! I wonder what that looked like!? Maybe high tens, dancing and hugging, yelling at the top of their lungs, tears of joy and wonder streaming down their cheeks, slapping their thighs, throwing themselves on the ground in pure unbelievable amazement . . . ? I don’t know what it looked like back then, but I would love an instant replay!!! Lord, give me that joy. You are deserving of it and so much more.

  • lois flake

    In the whole story of JESUS birth; I see obedience…This has really impressed upon me to listen to THE HOLY SPIRIT;;THE HOLY BIBLE and OBEY!!!!!

    • Jena

      Lois- yes! I’ve continued to see time and time over and over – obedience to His will, and faith past the circumstances. Powerful! Love it!

  • One thing I found amazing is the distance these wise men travel from. God does not discriminate. He choose whomever He wants to share in His glory regardless of where you comes from.

    • Laura

      Amen! Near and far. Rich and poor. All kinds of people, ever. Praise His awesome name!

  • Amy Riker

    I am finding so much inspiration in SRT today. As I sit, discouraged by changes I still long for, I am reminded of changes that have already taken place… changes to my heart. I’m reminded of how much quicker to kindness and acceptance I am, and of the community I embrace and even celebrate (rare for the shy introvert that I am). I remember, too, that I am living a more purpose-filled life. That life is not perfect, but it is more aligned with who He asks me to be. I am also aware that I believe Him when He asks me to trust. I do trust, and I wait, because of Him.

    For this, and so much more, I give thanks.

  • What an amazing sight it would have been to watch Mary hold God in her arms. The overwhelming love God has for us astounds me, and makes me fall to my knees in worship just as the Magi did. There is nothing greater than the love of God!

  • Churchmouse

    Magi bowing down to a king who wasn’t theirs, a God who wasn’t their god. A foreshadowing of when every knee will bow and every tongue confess that this Child, this babe in a manger, is Christ the Lord!

  • When I was younger one of the places my family and I lived was the east side of Florida. We had a family friend that introduced us to a special little location somewhat private where she taught us to dig for sea urchins. When I’d pick one up, pull the seaweed off of it and let it sit in my palm, it would slowly move its tentacles, which would slightly tickle my hand. These creatures were magnificent, their colors amazing, their movements, slow but intentional, their design magnificent. I was speechless with admiration. Back then they were loved for their shells and meat, which meant their demise. I was naive to their fate so I was just excited about finding them and because of my awe of them, I would shout each time, “I found one, I found one”. Once I learned what was to happen to these beauties I pitched a massive fit, as did one of my sisters. We were bent on being the protectors of sea urchins everywhere and while our family and friends didn’t share the same passion we personally decided to hide these creatures on those trips or at least “not find any”. We were good at pretending, although it was hard to not hold them all and to not want to show their beauty to the others there, we knew we had to contain our excitement for their safety. I suspect my parent’s knew and because of our hearts obliged us in our mission to save. Short of it is, we searched out something amazing and beautiful. We couldn’t get over what God had done with them, how they looked, we loved that they were an actual living and breathing animal, new to us. We wanted to protect each one we found and were happy to deceive other searchers to protect their amazing beauty and life.

    I think to my amazement then, I can almost feel a bubble of emotion in me over it and it makes me think to those wise men. When they walked in and saw Mary with that young king they must be overcome with emotion. Seeing Him right in front of them must have left them nearly speechless and while they likely wanted to tell so many about Him, they knew, for his safety, to watch their words and route. I am overwhelmed thinking of what it was like to see Christ as a wee one, knowing what I know now what was it like then to see hope alive and in front of them? Their search made complete by finding the living, breathing, real God before them, in the flesh, but in humble means. Amazing.

    Prayerful that I see the world around me with the same amazement I did as a kid. That I know each creation mirrors God in some capacity and that as I look to His world and His birth I stand amazed at its meaning. That I am even more overcome and committed to living out my life and sharing my King as I was in protecting those urchins. Prayerful that 44-year-old me recalls the joy that 9-year-old me knew well and that my pursuit of Christ is more and more passionate with each day that passes. ~ B

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      Beautifully expressed…..what a fantastic word picture…..thank you!!!! Praying along side you this morning….

    • Kylee

      Lovely, B, as always!

    • funkybodunky

      What a beautiful story. And a stirring reminder for us all to simply look around in amazement at everything and everyone.

    • Amy Riker

      … each creation mirrors God in some capacity…

      Thankful, B, for that reminder. I needed to hear your words this morning.

    • Veve

      Absolutely, beautifully expressed. Couldn’t help but think that you and your sisters were like the Kings. Protecting the unique for their own good. Thanks you!

    • Jena

      Love this! What I also love is the stories of our lives in our hearts that tie us to Jesus. That allow us to understand Him more and give us a deep connection to Him just as He has planned for us. Amazed.

  • Carly B

    The start of the Isaiah passage stood out to me today. “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.”
    David had been promised that one of his descendants would be king forever but now Herod was king. It must have seemed to the Jewish people that God’s promise had failed. But this verse gives hope. With God, new life can come even from a stump. Even when circumstances look hopeless, and God’s promises seem impossible, he can still step in and turn everything around.

    • Kelly S

      Beautifully said, Carly! “New life can come, even from a stump.” We have a stump in our front yard. It’s a nuisance, really. It is evidence of a failed tree. It gets in the way when we mow our grass. To think that God can take something I see as useless and turn it into my salvation is humbling and thrilling.

    • Debbie

      The imagery of the tender shoot coming from the stump of Jesse has really impacted me this Advent season. It reminds me that what looks like a hopeless, dead reminder of the past can birth new life . . . that resurrection is always around the corner! Whatever dreams, relationships, etc. that have become a dead stump may one day bring forth a tender shoot of new life. Be blessed today, sisters, and Merry Christmas!

      • Kristi

        Oh I so needed to hear y’all’s words this morning! I can imagine that the Jews were doubting God because Herod was king. I catch myself doubting what God says is true just because I can’t see it or it hasn’t happened yet. But then He sends me this reminder that out of a stump a shoot will grow. There is always hope with God! Praise Him!

    • Kylee

      Thank you for this reminder that, despite any physical evidence pointing to failure, we cannot call God’s plan a failure because we don’t know the outcome! I’m sure the Jewish people thought that promise had failed out…I’m embarrassed to say I might have thought the same if I was in their shoes. I’ll carry this reminder in my heart not to call it a failure because He calls it FINISHED.

      • Amy

        what an encouragement to know that nothing is over until gods plan is finished. nothing is over until each and every one of God’s promises is fulfilled. and he promised that he who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it!

    • Amy Riker

      With God, new life can come even from a stump… even when circumstances look hopeless…

      I needed your words this morning, Carly. I woke up discouraged, but am being shown new fruits as I sit in silence.

      Thank you for always sharing your thoughts.

    • Alexis

      Thank you for your words. I’ve been so discouraged lately, and this is what I needed to read.
      “New life can come, even from a stump.” Beautiful.

  • I wonder whether the story of the nativity would have been different had the magi listened to Herod…if they had gone home the way they came to visit…or that they hadn’t heeded the angel voices….

    Oh, indeed..Fall on your knees..oh hear the angel voices…for oh night divine, oh night when Christ was born and ALL ALL changed for US forever…
    A Saviour was truly born for us and all we love, and all who love them….
    Amen..
    Amen..
    Amen…
    Thank you gracious Lord God, thank you…

    May the peace and Grace afforded us through the greatest gift of all, be yours this Christmastime….hugs and Love to you my Sisters…God be with you…xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    • candacejo

      Beautifully said as always! Much love to you this Christmas season, blessings abundant to you and your family. ♥

    • heather (MNmomma)

      love and hugs to you!!

  • Isaiah 11
    3 …He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears;
    4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
    with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. . .
    Oh that we would follow His example in verse 3.

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