Day 8 // Three Responses

“Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw His star as it rose, and we have come to worship Him.’ King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, ‘Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?’ ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they said, ‘for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for My people Israel.’” Matthew 2:1-6 (NLT)

Though thousands of years separate us now from the birth of Jesus, the responses of people are much the same. When you read the account of His birth, you will notice three responses. First, we’re introduced to the wise men. Talk about an Advent adventure! These men were certainly on one. They traveled thousands of miles following a star just to see the newborn King. They followed the star to Jerusalem, but then it must have faded from their site. Being wise men they stopped and asked for directions.

It didn’t take long for the news of a “newborn King” to reach the throne room of King Herod. He’s the second character to respond. “Deeply disturbed…” King Herod called a meeting with the “… leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, ‘Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?’” Here’s the third group now to enter the scene. These religious leaders knew their Bible. They answered correctly according to the prophecies in the Old Testament. Quoting Micah 5:2, they told the King that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. With that information, King Herod sent the wise men on with the secret intent to use them to locate the newborn Messiah so he could kill Him later. That’s the way reigning Kings handled their competition.

I think it’s amazing, isn’t it, that God removed the star to cause these men to enter Jerusalem to seek directions giving opportunity for everyone from King Herod to the religious leaders and the people to know of His birth. Yet, when the wise men got their answer, they were the only ones who continued on the journey to find the Christ child! These religious teachers and priests knew the Scriptures and pointed the wise men to the Savior, but they would not go to worship Him themselves! They quoted the Bible but did not obey it! And get this, Bethlehem was only five miles away! Wouldn’t you think the religious leaders at least would have been curious enough to go see for themselves? They were given the opportunity and missed the adventure of Advent! I hope that doesn’t describe you.

Three responses to the birth of Jesus: The wise men were seeking Him; Herod was opposing Him; the religious leaders were ignoring Him. We are 17 days from what can be the most meaningful Christmas in your life. Which response to the Advent of Christ is yours? Will you worship the one whose birth we celebrate? Are you disturbed by all those who will, like King Herod? Or, will you simply ignore it as though it doesn’t even matter?

“Prepare our hearts as you did these wise men to seek You, Lord Jesus, and to worship You! Give us the kind of devotion they had regardless of the response of others that this may be the most meaningful Christmas ever!”

In what ways have you responded to Christ? Seeker? Skeptic? Critic?

How does the response of others affect your attitude?

Have you substituted knowing the Bible for knowing Christ?