A Year With Jesus: Matthew 2:13-23
As a kid, I had a (very) short tenure as a checkers player. The most exciting part of the game for me was when I reached the other side of the board and triumphantly shouted, “King me!” It meant I had the power to go in whatever direction I wanted on the board. No restrictions!
Tears For Fears had it right when they said, Everybody Wants To Rule The World. If you’re like me you might be thinking, “Uh, no… There’s no way I’d want to be in charge of this whole world!” Well, maybe not the whole world. But I at least want to be in charge of my little world.
King Herod, as we saw last week, grows jealous of a baby. Not just any baby, of course, but Jesus, who he sees as a threat to his power. And when he fails to locate Jesus, he does something horrific. He ordered all the boys two years old and under to be killed. This is a part of the Christmas story that we rarely mention. Yes, Herod was hoping that Jesus would be among the babies killed, but I’m sure there was also an element of spite to his order. I’m angry, so everyone suffers.
Our own grasps to hold on to power may not exhibit themselves in such an extreme way, but they are there. There are times when the “Lil’ King” in me rears its ugly Herod-like head…
When I’m in a meeting at work and I think I’m the smartest person in the room.
When my defensiveness leads me to attack and belittle others.
When I feel I deserve something because of how great I am.
When I refuse to listen to others because they disagree with me.
When constructive criticism leaves me feeling insecure.
When I need to be the one to decide what we’re doing, where we’re eating (yes, a big one for me!), and how the day is going to play out.
It is during these times that I can’t wait to yell “king me!” and get the final word. (I just can’t wait to be king…)
A few sentences after Herod carries out his heinous act, Matthew writes the three words that change everything:
After Herod died…
And just like that, Herod is dead. And God’s plan of salvation and redemption continues on, unthwarted. There are some things even a king cannot control. But in his trails, Herod leaves behind a sad legacy.
In a way, we are all little kings. We all have influence over something or someone. And we can choose to wield that power for the benefit of ourselves and our egos (as I so often do). Or we can look to Jesus, who did not use his power for his own advantage but to serve others.
Questions to Ponder:
What do you think drove Herod to take such a drastic measure?
When is the “Lil’ King” in you most prone to take over in your life?
Please feel free to leave a comment!