Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A King? Yawn...

Life of Christ 12

          When the Magi appeared in Jerusalem they were searching for a king (Matthew 2.1-2). They were drawn on this search spiritually by their hunger to worship God, intellectually by their knowledge of the Old Testament prophecies regarding Christ, and visually by the star that shone so brightly over Palestine. In spite of their knowledge of the Old Testament they were not sure of the specific location so they came to Jerusalem to make enquiry. Of course, they had no idea of the horror they would unleash by their innocent inquiries at Herod the Great's court, and they bear no fault for the succeeding bloodshed. Soon enough the chief priests and scribes return with the information which the Magi sought for regarding where this prophesied king was to be born (Matthew 2.3-6 quoting Micah 5.2), namely Bethlehem.
         We know how the rest of the story goes, but the question that haunts me about it is this: Why didn't the Jews go? We know the learned religious leaders in Jerusalem knew of Micah's prophecy for they were the ones that informed the Magi of it. Further, they had an even more complete access to and knowledge of the rest of the Old Testament prophecies that drove the Magi in the first place. In addition, and this is mind boggling to me, if the Magi saw His star all the way in the east for at least several months, if not years, why didn't anybody in Jerusalem notice? What's more, if somehow all of this had escaped their attention, when the Magi visited obviously it remedied that problem, for their attention was fixated on Bethlehem like a laser at that point. And it's only a few hour walk from Jerusalem to Bethlehem; surely even the busy schedules of the Jewish luminaries in Jerusalem could be cleared, at least for an afternoon, to investigate these phenomenal events, couldn't they?
          Well, apparently not, and there is only one reason that can explain this sequential failure to even notice Christ's birth – they just didn't care. I can think of no other rational explanation for the complete absence of Judaism's religious leaders to even acknowledge the birth of Christ. As Paul would later say to Festus, 'this thing was not done in a corner' (Acts 26.26). The shepherds would have spoken of it. Simeon and Anna would have spoken of it. But beyond those human aspects, there was an incredibly array of Old Testament prophecy that pointed toward it, and there was a star the size of small New England state screaming about it for months in the night sky over Palestine. No, it wasn't that they were ignorant; it was that they were apathetic.
          El Elyon, the Most High God, sends His Son from the ivory palaces of Glory to Earth entrusted to the custody of a people whose sole national purpose was to be ready for His arrival – and they didn't care.
          A King? Yawn...

Numbers 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Isaiah 53:2-3  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

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