One of my favorite carols is Joy to the World. There’s a line in that song, ” let earth receive her king.”
Easier said than done. To receive the king you have to quit trying to be king.
The human condition is competitive and self-serving. This is never more visible than when it is seen in the raw emotions of a child.
There is a story that Dr. James Dobson tells of a 9 year old boy who had just been beaten by his 8 year old brother in a race. He sent his younger sibling the following letter:
I am the greatest and you’re the baddest. And I can beat everybody in a race and you can’t beat anybody in a race. I’m the smartest and you’re the dumbest. I’m the best sport player and you’re the baddest sport player. And you’re also a hog. I can beat anybody up. And that’s the truth. And that’s the end of this story.
Nobody likes to lose.
I grew up in a gang of boys and the desire to be number one was sometimes at a fever. We went to war. Over ping pong, monopoly, football, baseball, everything. Winning a ping pong game at the Dye house could be hazardous to your health. You’d better duck because the paddle of the loser would sometimes be sailing at your head.
We wanted to be number one. It was in our nature. We don’t want to serve, we want to BE served. And, so there is the rub when it comes to Christmas. God himself was coming to be king.
This is good news now, but it wasn’t then.
Matthew 2:2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east, and have come to worship Him.”
Notice the response. It wasn’t joy. It was high anxiety.
3 And when Herod the king heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
If there was a new king then the old king felt threatened. And you just didn’t threaten king Herod. All Jerusalem was troubled with him.
In 35 BC, Herod’s 17 year old brother in Law Aristobulus was so popular with the Jews that Herod feared they might make him king. Not long after that he drowned at a party. There wasn’t sufficient evidence to indict Herod.
When he grew jealous of his wife he brought her up on charges of adultery. She was executed.
In 29 BC Herod later executed Mariamne’s mother without a trial.
Next to go was his brother-in-law in 28 BC. The charge was conspiracy.
7 BC he executes his two of his three sons, and 4 BC executes his eldest son Antipater.
Herod was so cruel that the Austustus once exclaimed, “It’s safer to be Herod’s pig than his son.”
Herod wasn’t about to let this thing go quietly. When Herod was troubled, everyone was troubled. So Jerusalem was troubled.
Jesus came to a troubled world. He came to be king. We must set aside our desire to control and let Him be king.
To receive a king you have to stop trying to be one.