Herod was cruel, ruthless, very jealous of his power — he killed anyone he perceived as a potential rival, including his own wife and sons! Talk about an egomaniac!

So imagine his reaction when the magi came to him announcing the birth of the King. The magi were famous king-makers…

Herod knew immediately that this was the promised Saviour, the prophesied King the people he was ruling over were waiting for. Though they, like him, didn’t understand what kind of King He would be.

Herod tried to get the magi to betray the child-king. He asked them when they saw the star, and he asked them to come back to tell him where the baby was, ostensibly to “worship” also.

The magi were warned by a God-dream not to return by way of Jerusalem and Jesus’ family sent to Egypt, thwarting Herod’s plan.

But Herod killed all the babies 2 yrs and under looking for Jesus, coincedentally fulfilling prophecy, as well.

Herod knew exactly who he was rejecting — the Christ, the Anointed One of Israel.

Herod saw Jesus as a threat to his control of everything, which He was, just not in the way Herod thought. Herod thought about his temporal, political and economical power. Jesus has all authority, but has not yet claimed His Kingly authority on earth.

Other people do the same as Herod: reject Jesus because to accept would mean giving up control. There can’t be 2 kings and for Jesus to be king, we have to give up our throne. Yet, Jesus, while enthroned in our lives, gives us more control than we had without Him, enslaved to sin as we were. With Jesus as King, we are given more freedom and more choice than ever before.

The advent of the King threatens our control, forces us to confront our own powerlessness, and admit our need to depend on God.

We naturally resist limits, resist dependency, seek power, independence, control, self-sufficiency, all the while deluding ourselves into thinking we can choose for ourselves.

How many times have we vowed to conquer that bad habit, give up that self-indulgence or change the pattern of behaviour? There are many programs, pills and people promising that “if you just do this one thing”, you will be free. All of this is a lie, as only One can truly give us freedom.

The only difference between us and Herod is the lack of opportunity and temporal authority. We are just as selfish, jealous, fearful and short-sighted as he was. If Herod had acknowledged Jesus as King, not only would he had temporal success and the following of the people, being heralded as the one who revealed the Messiah, but he would have also had eternal success, and been able to reign forever with Jesus.

Humans have a deep seated fear of powerlessness. Ironically, without Jesus, we *are* powerless. We can’t change a thing about ourselves, our world or our destiny on our own! But God can change us, change our world and change our destiny. In fact, He promised to do this , when we call on His name and believe.

In considering Herod, how do we grasp for power?

Herod was afraid that God would take something. What are we afraid to lose?

Jesus said we had to lose our lives to find them. We are afraid that if we surrender to God, we will be unfulfilled, unhappy and that we will miss out. The truth is that the greatest joy and satisfaction is only found in Jesus. We will miss out if we *don’t* surrender.

Herod found his own way to be ‘great’ — but the only way to be great is to be great in God’s eyes. Herod had the chance to change history, but instead became once of history’s greatest jokes.

To be great in God’s eyes is to love what God loves, to serve as Christ served, to be obedient even to the point of death. Once we know Jesus, we can’t have anything taken from us, unless we give it up, and once we’ve surrendered to God as King, we’ve given up everything, and no longer have anything to lose.

The Kingdom of God really is paradoxical. In total surrender we find total freedom. In complete loss, we get everything we ever wanted. And in making Jesus King, we get more power than we dreamed – power to command angels and demons, power to choose, power to think. In giving up everything, we gain eternity!

Who will you be – a king enslaved, or a slave made king?

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