Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 66:1-20; Luke 3:21-38
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Matthew 2:3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Being on the defensive all the time is exhausting. It feels like our Christian faith is always on trial. Explain the unexplainable. Find a loving God in the midst of an evil world. Love sinners while calling sin what it is. Answer, while you endure being called small-minded, backward bigots who would rather cling to a myth than face reality, and who use an imaginary God as an excuse for all of it.
It leaves us looking for a Herod long before we’re willing to look for a Jesus. It sounds terrible, but it’s what the Theology of Glory suggests. If someone has to bleed, we’d rather it not be us. If someone threatens to make us less, we’d rather fight back. We have too much to lose. It shifts our focus from God to the temporal.
It was this same sentiment that led to Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Herod would pay anything to keep health, wealth, and luxury. I get why he’d want those things. I want them, too. I want to fight back. Find a God who protects me by smiting the evil idolaters, and lets me have everything I make an idol out of. I understand Herod better than I want to. He was afraid. It drove him even deeper into sin and unbelief. This is the damage of idolatry. Herod wasn’t content to seek his daily bread apart from God. He would try to replace God or kill Him.
When God took on flesh to join a hostile world, however, it was to be Herod’s opposite. Jesus did not fight back. He gave Himself over to sinners. The magi worshipped their God by giving Him burial spices to go with the gold and incense that was due His divinity. The Lord has revealed what kind of God He is. He is the suffering servant. He is the crucified Jesus. He bled and died so that you would live, because God agrees with Herod and with us: Someone has to bleed for all this sin, and He, too, would rather it not be us. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. –Rev. Harrison Goodman
Almighty Father, in Your Son You loved us when not yet begun Was this old earth’s foundation! Your Son has ransomed us in love To live in Him here and above: This is Your great salvation. Alleluia! Christ the living, To us giving Life forever, Keeps us Yours and fails us never! (O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright, LSB 395:4)