Sunday: 6th January, 2018
Reference text: Matthew 2:1-12
Matthew 2:8Then Herod sent them to Bethlehem saying ‘Go to Bethlehem and search high and low for this Savior child; and as soon as you know where He is, report it to me so that I may go and worship Him’.
Considering Biblical characters, kids grow up wanting to be like Joseph, Jesus, Mary, Abel – they want to be like the good guys. Many who are therefore familiar with the story of the three magi, will not want to grow up to be like Herod because he had the singular intention of plotting to harm Jesus. Interestingly, as I reflected on this text I realised that his character presented a big school for learning: learning about the applications of wisdom.
The magi are sometimes referred to as ‘the three wise men’, but the actions of Herod are what truly depicted wisdom. In his actions we see that:
1. Wisdom understands its limits
Herod had no accurate information about the birth of a Messiah nor did he know where he would be born. However, he made sure he was surrounded with people who had access to such information: the chief priests and high ranking Jews. One invitation and he received the specific information needed to launch a search.
2. Wisdom seeks clarity before acting
The fact that Herod knew the messiah would be born in Bethlehem, did not warrant a utilisation of his vast armies and resources to find him. He was aware the wise men had more information hence, his secret message: ‘go search for him diligently and bring me back word’. True wisdom understands the importance of patience and clarity before acting.
3. It is written: ‘For what seems to be God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom (1 Cor 1:25a)’.
Human wisdom without God’s guidance is useless. The three men described as ‘wise’, found themselves baited unto the hook of Herod with his hypocritical attitude and sweet words. Had it not been for the warning in a dream, they would have walked back into his open arms with all the information they had found regarding Jesus. Wisdom without God is really useless
We may not like Herod, but that does not prevent us from learning from his character. Let us stay open to learning from every opportunity available.