New Hope Notes
The King's Response
Pastor Aaron Cordeiro
The Bible says, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the King, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.’ When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.”(Matthew 2:1-3)
When God shows up in your life, what will be your response? Will you seek His presence and worship Him? If we're not careful, Jesus could be standing right in front of us but we don't see Him because our lives may be too full--of everything else but what God is all about. We may miss the miracle before us. We are reminded of this when we read Matthew 2 and look at the life of King Herod and his response to the arrival of Jesus. It is often said at New Hope Oahu, you can learn from those who did well and from those who did not do so well. King Herod was someone who did not do well. He was prideful, insecure, and full--of himself. When Herod heard of the birth of Jesus, he was troubled because his pattern of life was being disrupted. But here is the life application today: you may not like change in your life too. When you get into a rhythm in life, whether with family or work, you don’t like it when that rhythm is disturbed; if there is pride and insecurity in your hearts, the change is even harder. And we know that when God shows up in your life, things change! So what is the godly or righteous response to the arrival of Jesus this Christmas? There are three lessons to learn in contrast with the life of Herod.
When the King (Jesus) Shows Up:
1. Allow Him to be King.
Although Herod had a position as king of Judea, his life of pride and insecurity prevented him from acknowledging the arrival of Jesus, who is King of all kings and Lord of all lords. Pride rooted in insecurity is like an insidious or hidden parasite that only takes away, with lies and deceit. So combat pride with godly commitment.
The Bible says, “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the father.” (Phil. 2:9-11).
When Jesus shows up, we have a choice in our response: allow Jesus to be Lord in our life or be like Herod and reject the true King. God is gracious and will not force us to do anything. But if we make a commitment to allow Jesus to be King, the Bible promises that we will not miss the miracle. And the miracle promises that when Jesus comes and we set our minds on Him, we have His power over sin and death in our lives.
Accordingly, the Bible says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature ... "(Col. 3:1-5)
Herod had his mind set on things like his accomplishments and position as king of Judea. He wasn't going to let anyone take it away and did whatever it took to keep hold of it. In contrast, when God shows up, we should set our minds on Christ and eternal life.
2. Seek Him yourself.
The Bible says this of King Herod, “Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: “And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for out of you shall come forth a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.”' Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.’" (Matt. 2:4-8)
Herod was unwilling to seek God himself. In contrast, the second lesson is for you to seek Him yourself. This lesson asks the fundamental question, "Is God really there?" When people would ask Reverend Graham, "How do you know God is really there?" he tells them this story about a little boy flying his kite on a very windy or blustery day. The kite went so high up behind the clouds you couldn't see it anymore. And this older gentleman came up to the boy and said, "Well, what are you doing?" And the boy replied "Well, I'm flying my kite." The man said, "Well, how do you know? You can't see your kite." The boy responded, "Oh, I know. Every once in a while when the wind gusts, I feel the tug of my kite and I know for sure that my kite is still up there." And Billy Graham says it this way, "Don't let anyone else tell you about God. You need to go and seek Him for yourself." Pastor Aaron applies this to when we seek God ourselves, there will be times when you might be in church or bible study or praying (alone) that you will feel the tug of God on your heart strings and know that He is there!
3. Let Him be the greatest miracle in your life.
The Bible continues, “Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.”(Matt. 2:16)
Herod's response is brutal; his pride and insecurity led him to a place or state of rage. He was afraid that the little baby Jesus would grow up to be king. So the third lesson is that when Jesus shows up, make a godly commitment to let Him be the greatest miracle in your life. Although at times we too can become afraid of the baby Jesus growing up inside of us. He was and is and will be King. And because God loves you and me, He is not going to allow us to stay the same!
Accordingly, the Bible says, “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God..."(Heb. 6:1)
Christ wants to be the greatest miracle in your life and my life. He holds salvation. He holds the keys to sin and death. Christmas reminds us that God loves us so much that He will not let us stay the same. But He will never force us. He's going to tug at our hearts. This Christmas, when Jesus shows up in your life, let Him be King...allow Him to be the greatest miracle in your life because when you do, when you're willing, when you respond in such a way, you won't miss the miracle God has in your life. His name is Jesus. Amen.
1. What is your response to the arrival of Jesus this Christmas?
2. How do you know God is really there?
3. Identify the areas of pride or insecurity in your life.