“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.” Matthew 2:3
News travels quickly. A tweet from the President. A movie star’s bid at an auction. The Pope’s comment on “lead us not into temptation.” Wow, news travels quickly!
And bad news can travel as fast (maybe faster?) as good news. The quiet whisper of an unplanned pregnancy can travel as fast as a Facebook official post of another’s engagement.
In the first century Jerusalem there was no Twitter, Facebook, texting or instant messaging. News primarily traveled by word of mouth. When the foreign Magi asked in Jerusalem, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” King Herod became troubled… and all Jerusalem with him. If the cruel king was angry everyone was put on alert. In the market places, during meals and at work, King Herod’s “trouble” was the topic of conversation. Even more, his trouble became every else’s trouble too.
Eastern sages! A new king! Herod’s rage! All combined these were the ingredients for a first century news flash.
But along with the news of Herod’s latest temper tantrum would’ve been the news of the new King of the Jews. The Gospel would be hidden in trouble.
Herod’s anger would be taken out on the babies of Bethlehem in a massacre known to us as “the slaughter of the Holy Innocents.” Jesus would slip away to Egypt with His mother and father so that “out of Egypt I have called my Son” would be fulfilled. The Christ-Child must die but not yet. His baptism, preaching and teaching, miracle-working, Palm Sunday ride, Maundy Thursday Supper and crucifixion must come first.
As Jerusalem stirred over the news of the Magi the Gospel would be veiled in every whisper. “Who is this new king that angers Herod? Could it be the long-awaited Messiah?” Sure enough, it was the rightful King of Heaven and Earth. In time the world would even know His name. Jesus. For He will save His people form their sins.
On the night when He was betrayed, Jesus said, “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’” Your Christ has died for your sins and has arisen for your justification. He lives. Spread the News.