In Matthew chapter 2 we read of the magi (astrologers) visiting Herod the king to ask where the king of the Jews had been born. The chief priests gave Herod the location and Herod sent the magi ahead with instructions to return with a location so Herod could also go worship the child. When the magi did not return Herod had every child two years of age and younger in the Bethlehem area killed.
The common explanation for Herod’s decree was to protect his own son’s right to replace him as king. When kings were overthrown the whole family was executed to prevent a future claim to the throne. This is a plausible explanation, but scripture reveals much more about the situation.
Herod asked the chief priest where the “Messiah” was to be born. He knew this new king was to be Israel’s salvation. Herod also told the magi to provide him with the location of the child so he could go and worship as well.
In verse 11 we read that the magi fell to the ground to worship Jesus. The word worship means to bow down. Worship itself involves respect, submission, and vulnerability. Submitting to a new king would not be new for Herod, the Roman emperor granted his title of King to him.
Herod’s choice to attempt to kill the messiah was not out of fear for his family, but a matter of pride. The Roman Empire forced Herod to submit. He had no choice. Herod was not going to voluntarily submit to anyone.
From Herod we can learn a great deal about ourselves. We were not created to serve God one day a week. 1 Corinthians 6:12 state “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” The word mastered also means to “have authority over.” We are meant to allow God to have authority over every aspect of our lives.
Everything that we do should honor God in some way. How we spend our money, what we read or watch on TV, every aspect of our lives should bring glory to the Lord.
Is there a little Herod in you?