Not everybody was thrilled with the news of One “born King of the Jews.” Herod was about as nasty as any “king” has ever been. He had only become king through political and social machination. Besides, he wasn’t even a Jew. He was an Edomite!
There was a lot of unrest under his rule. When he heard the news of men searching for One “born King,” the Scripture says, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him, Matthew 2:3. Now, the Jews weren’t concerned about him; they were concerned about what he might do! A concern borne out by his actions several months later.
Something I’d never really paid attention to until just now. Having found out from the chief priests and scribes of the people where the Messiah was to be born, HEROD sent the wise men to Bethlehem, Matthew 2:8! It ought to be a matter of some concern when the ungodly express an interest in the things of God. It can mean no good! Now, the wise men probably didn’t know about Herod, but took what he said at face value. And perhaps it had only seemed to them the thing to do to look in the capitol city of Israel to find Israel’s king. So they were apparently fooled by Herod’s expressed desire to worship with them this One for whom they looking. Except for God intervening and spoiling Herod’s evil plan, they might have led to the murder of the Messiah. Such a thing would have been impossible, but it took divine intervention to prevent it.
I think Herod may be considered emblematic of a world under Satan’s control. This doesn’t cancel out God’s overall control of things, but Satan is called the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4 (KJV). Paul wrote to the Ephesian church about their preconversion life: …you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in [“energizes”] the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves…, Ephesians 2:2, 3 (NKJV).
In the Garden of Eden, Satan usurped God’s place as the one to whom men would look for guidance. Where the Word of God has been valued and obeyed, Satan’s influence is minimized. However, where the Word is unknown, ignored or rejected, as is increasingly the case here in the US, Satan blinds the minds of men to the fact that the way(s) of life he leads them in is or are ultimately only destructive, never beneficial. He promises them “freedom” from the old Puritanical taboos, but in reality enslaves them to the desires of their own selfish being. There is more than one kind of slavery.
In Herod and the magi, we clearly see the two-fold division of mankind: those who are truly seeking the Savior and those who are not. Granted, many do not know anything about the Savior, and many others have found Him, or, rather, have been found by Him, John 10:14-16. Nevertheless, humanity may be divided into two classes, not rich or poor, but lost or saved. We’re every one of us either one or the other.
The difference is found in our reaction to and our relationship with that One “born King of the Jews.”