In the story of Jesus’ birth. We talk about the wise men, the shepherds, the manger and angels but there within the story lies a hard but somehow comforting truth that nobody talks about.
It’s not glamours, it’s not feel good, and it’s honestly kinda gross. Here’s the scoop from Matthew 2:
After the birth of Jesus, some magi visited Herod to inquire the whereabouts of “the one having been born king of the Jews.” Herod, as King of the Jews, was alarmed at the prospect of a usurper. Herod assembled the chief priests and scribes of the people and asked them where the “Anointed One” was to be born. They answered, in Bethlehem.
Herod therefore sent the magi to Bethlehem, instructing them to search for the child and, after they had found him, to “report to me, so that I too may go and worship him”(liar liar pants on fire).
However, after they had found Jesus, they were warned in a dream not to report back to Herod. Similarly, Joseph was warned in a dream that Herod intended to kill Jesus, so he and his family fled to Egypt.
When Herod realized he had been outwitted, he gave orders to kill all boys of the age of two and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity. Joseph and his family stayed in Egypt until Herod’s death, then moved to Nazareth in Galilee.
In Herod’s paranoid, self absorbed, narcissistic way he ordered the MURDER of any baby in Jerusalem under the age of 2. Wikipedia explains Herod as someone, “prepared to commit any crime im order to gratify his unbounded ambition”
“he (Herod) sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under.” Matthew 2:16
I don’t know if the families in Bethlehem had time to prepare, how much time passed between King Herod’s order and the massacre but I can imagine the scene: A Roman solider in his full armor banging on the door frames until they shattered as much as the terrified family on the inside of the home. The soldiers would barge their way in whether the door was opened for them or not.
Turning over the beds, ripping apart their belongings searching for babies. If they found a baby boy under the age of two they would grab the child, the family would scream, the solider would lift their sword, and….I just can’t type it.
You know what happened
The mother would scream and run to protect her baby but it was too late. The solider would storm out on to the next home before the door could even shut behind him.
The mother would hold her baby covered in blood weeping and crying asking why!! This makes no sense! What did this baby do? WHYYYYY!!!
“Rachel (mother of the nation of Jerusalem) weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:18
The amount of babies murdered is not known for certain, but we know for sure it was ALL of the baby boys of the town of Bethlehem. Could you imagine every mother and father in your city weeping over the loss of her baby?!
My heart hurts for these families. For the mothers who had to bury their babies. This is tragic and heart breaking.
As I think more about these families, who were just like you and me, I realize today, no one knows their name. No one knows the story of these sweet babies who were killed so young. There was no memorial, no avenging of their death, and no one changed their profile picture in to the Bethlehem flag to pay respects. (kidding….but seriously)
The kicker lies in the hard truth that is not really warm and fuzzy, not really the speech you hear at funerals, but oddly comforting.
The truth is…the story was never about those babies. The story was and will always ONLY be about ONE baby.
No I don’t know the names of these babies or families but the only reason I even know their story is because it was associated with Jesus.
King Herod tried with all his might to make his name great. He called himself “Herod the Great” killed ANYONE (including three of his own sons) if they made any threat to take his throne. He spent every human effort to make himself immortal. Yet to all his efforts his name was preserved for only a short time for his “kingdom.”
Two thousand years later the only reason people know his name (outside of a few history buffs) is because of his part in the story of Jesus.
The king of the world was never Herod, not even Leonardo DiCaprio at the bow of the titanic. (tell me you got that)
The king of the world was and will always be Jesus.
In fact who can you name anyone who made an impact on our world from 2,000 years ago or more? There are a few names I learned in history class that made remarkable discoveries but no one has been or ever will be the savior of the world who came down from heaven to live among us, be killed by us, and rose again.
That makes his fame last way longer than any other king, hero, or inventor I know of.
The queen of my world was never me, although I have tried to make it that way at times. My best efforts at becoming rich, popular, smart, or well known are all laughable really.
If I give it my all and pour every resource I have into making something great, people may remember me for a few years…maybe, if I’m lucky. My best efforts at “my kingdom” are gone with me.
But if I can contribute to Jesus’s story. If I can stop working about the oh so temporary trappings of this world. If I can let go of that to be a supporting character to the ONLY leading role this world will ever know….that is truly the only way I will every make a lasting impact on this world.
“whoever loses their life for me will find it” Matthew 16:25
The “slaughter of the innocence” as many refer to this event in history is heartbreaking no doubt, but simply because their loss was associated with Jesus’ birth, their story can be remembered.
What can i do today to stop trying to be the “leading role” in my life but a supporting character to the only leading role this world will ever know.
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