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