King Herod or King Jesus?

crownWe were blessed as always this past Sunday by our regular guest preacher, Pastor Alvin Louie. In 36 years of ministry, Pastor Alvin has only changed his message two times. One time was in the aftermath of 9/11, and the second was because of a church tragedy. This Sunday was his third time.

In light of the recent violence in Connecticut, Pastor Al reminded us of the tragic event that surrounded the birth of Christ. In Matthew 2:1-23, the gospel writer gives us a contrast of two kings: King Herod and King Jesus. Herod was appointed king by Caesar, but Jesus was born king according to the will of God. Herod was paranoid and disturbed and was known to have killed anyone around him who was a threat to his throne. So when Herod heard from the Magi about the birth of the King of the Jews, Herod wanted to find him too. But the Magi wisely did not lead Herod to Jesus. In his rage, according to Matthew 2:16, “Herod gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.”

This passage hits home a lot harder now. Pastor Al gave three possible reasons why this kind of evil happens: (1) sin—this was the cause of the very first murder, when Cain killed his brother Abel (Genesis 4:7), (2) Satan’s evil influence (John 8:44-45)—we have an enemy who hates us and wants to kill and destroy us, and (3) the total depravity of the human race (Romans 3:10-18, Jeremiah 17:9).

But we are not left in darkness and despair, for the reason Christ was born was to save us from sin! And 1 John 4:4 reminds us that “the one who is in you [Christ] is greater than the one who is in the world [Satan],” and John 1:5 tells us, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Our hope in this world is in the power of Christ for salvation and new life (2 Corinthians 5:17) so that we can be new creations in Christ.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the community of Newtown and those who have suffered such devastating loss.