And gathering together all the Chief Priests and Scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written through the prophet, (Matthew 2:4-5 ASV)
The wisemen from the East, had come to Jerusalem where King Herod was residing. They were in anticipation of celebrating and worshiping the new ‘Baby King of the Jews’. They came to the place where one might expect to greet royalty… Jerusalem, and The Palace; but there was no baby King there and it caused quite a stir… Upon hearing of the inquiries, the reigning monarch was very disturbed. Statesmen from afar had come to worship royalty… Except, they were not looking for him, but his replacement. Now he was being asked about something that he had no answers for.
The very question of ‘another King’ was more than likely seen as treason, a usurping of his power. Being the paranoid monarch that he was, he inquired of his own wisemen and demanded answers. The Magi from the East would provide him with the timing of ‘this birth’; and he would see to it that these religious advisors (who’s titles were Chief priest and Scribes), Quickly found the clues to the location of this ‘ Baby King’.
According to scripture, every Chief Priest was chosen by men, and called by God. Their duty was to represent man in front of God. Their job was to offer gifts and sacrifices for sin. He was to be gentle with the people and their weaknesses, remembering that he too struggled with the same dealings; and in the same way, he had to offer sacrifices for his own sins.
The scribes on the other hand, interpreted the laws of the Jewish people, but they did not write them. They were more like lawyers and judges.
The Chief Priest and the Scribes were the very ones who interpreted and reported to King Herod that the true King of the Jews, would be born in Bethlehem of Judea. It had been prophesied. It had been written. It was an undisputed fact.
So if this was unanimously agreed upon; and confirmed by the arrival of the wisemen from the East; then why was it, that not one of these scholars or Holy men joined the band wagon to see the babe? Why did they not go, and worship the Desire of Nations, the infant Emmanuel ‘God with us’? Could they have been guilty of what is eluded to in James 1, as ‘dead faith’ …belief with no works?
Whether they knew it or not, all of creation was waiting for THIS moment, when the babe who was Born already a King, would make himself known to those on earth.
See, It’s common for men to BECOME KING after growing up in a kingdom, first as a prince, then as a successor; but no one had been BORN KING… Until Jesus. He did not have to be taught by humans in order to be groomed for such a position. He did not need the votes or approval of men, like a president would; as in a democracy. No, this is who He had always been and who He will always be. His kingship started in Heaven and was expanding to earth. It had been foretold thousands of years before it had happened. It had been both written ‘plainly’ and disguised in ‘mystery’ for men to discover.
His arrival had been foretold in the stars, believed by foreigners, heralded by angels, witnessed by lowly shepherds, worshiped by the Wise…given birth through a virgin, proclaimed in the palace, whispered among commoners, beheld by prophets…and still, disbelieved by the chief priests and the scribes.
In their example, we can clearly see that head and heart knowledge are not the same thing. These men were among the best that the land had to offer. They had studied long and hard, and would have gotten an ‘A+’ in knowing the information asked of them. They knew the right answer. The sad part is, either they really didn’t believe it in their hearts, (because the discovery would have changed their actions); or they simply didn’t care. They could have thought ‘yea, I know this is what was written about the King, who will be born in Bethlehem (the land of King David’s birth), but we are comfortable with our current Ruler, our current way of life’; Or it’s possible that they could have wanted change, but had no faith for it.
Around the same time, There was another man in the scriptures who was described as devout and just. His name was Simeon. The Holy Spirit was upon him, and he had been eagerly waiting for the ‘consolation of Israel’… The King of the Jews. He had been told by the Holy Ghost that he would not die until he has seen the Christ… The one written about in the scriptures, and explained by the scribes.
One day, Simeon was prompted by the Spirit to go into the temple. At the same time, Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus. When Simeon saw him, he took the babe in his arms, blessed God and said ‘ For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:30-32)
Unlike the chief priest and Scribes, this man had taken what he had heard, what he had learned by the spirit and mixed it with action. Only then did his faith come alive!
The event of a lifetime was missed by the scholars and the grand opportunity was instead given to the lowly, the faith filled…who believed what they had been told by credible witnesses. Their faith was proven by their actions and they were rewarded with seeing the baby face of God, in the baby form of a King. The one who was born to rule not just the Jews, but the entire universe itself.
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Discuss: So, what will be do with what we know and have learned? Will we be like Herod’s scholars who had knowledge but dead faith? Or Will we allow our knowledge of the king to make us more like the wisemen…who brought their gifts and worshiped?
Pray: Heavenly father, we believe. Lord, show us your ways. Make yourself known to us and fill our hearts! Amen