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Advent Devotions

Read Matthew 2:4-6.
Assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people,
he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
Matthew 2:4

Apparently, Herod was aware of the prophecy of a Messiah --
 a King to be born to the Jews. Since he was not Jewish
himself, but rather a descendant of Jacob's brother Esau, he
consulted the Jewish scholars who would know the prophecy.
The chief priests and scribes quickly revealed the birthplace to
the king and the wise men, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is
written by the prophet, 'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of
Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for
from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd My people Israel'"
(Matthew 2: 5-6).

Up to now, the wise men had simply been following a silent star.
But now they heard the living Word of God. It told them this King
of the Jews was a ruler who would lead God's people as a
Shepherd. He would gently lead His people, protect them from
their enemies, and guide them to safe pasture. Here was God's
invitation for Herod and the wise men to follow Him as well.

Had Herod not closed his heart but responded with Spirit-given
faith as the wise men did, he would have known the peace and
rest His great King Jesus came to bring. He would know his
kingdom was secure, and he would be part of Christ's greater,
eternal Kingdom. But Herod was blinded by his own hunger for
power and prestige. The news of Christ's birth only amplified his
insecurity and doubt. No wonder all of Jerusalem was stirred up
and fearful when they knew Herod was upset by the news.

In reality, King Herod was a model of this world's ruler, Satan. In
desperation and rage Satan uses his forces to try to keep his
tight grasp on his earthly kingdom, but his end is coming rapidly.
On the cross Jesus Christ already delivered a fatal blow, undoing
Satan's devious work in the Garden of Eden. Now the devil awaits
the end of his reign and the beginning of his eternal torment in
hell when Christ comes again on the Last Day.

In the meantime, God sets these two rulers before us-His own
dear Son Jesus Christ and His bitter enemy the devil. We are not
the masters of our own fate, or kings of our own kingdom. You and
I will serve either Jesus or Satan. So would you rather serve a King
who is your loving Shepherd who laid down His life on the cross to
defeat the devil and save you from your enemies? Or would you
prefer submission to Satan the tyrant who engineered your
destruction and seeks your doom?


Lord God, thank You for Your Word, which reveals all I need to
know about Jesus my Savior. Keep me faithfully trusting Your Word.
Defend me against Satan's devious plans and bring me safely to
Your eternal Kingdom. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

(Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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