When he (King Herod) had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. ‘In Bethlehem in Judea,’ they replied… (Matthew 2)
I hate to admit this but sometimes, probably more than sometimes, I feel threatened when I think I might lose my place. I liked sitting on the front row at school. It gave an appearance of being the good student. In some churches the front row is a place of honor. A status symbol.
The prophets of God had been silent for 400 years when the cry of a baby broke through the dark-silence. During those 400 years the chief priests had achieved positions of great authority and honor. They were the ones to interpret the law. They had a vested interest in their position. They kept up the appearance of seeking God. Then these foreigners entered their land and asked where the baby who would be king was to be born. When confronted with the birth of the Messiah they made a choice. They chose to keep their position.
These men had been writing about the coming Messiah. They had studied scripture. They had memorized scripture. It was written and attached to their heads. The Messiah in theory wasn’t the same as living, breathing promise. Their hearts had become like stone and they were unable to make the six-mile journey to Bethlehem and worship the long-awaited King. They were unable to make the 18-inch journey from their head to their heart.
It is so easy to become complacent. Surrounded by messages we see every day that tell us to be more, buy more, see more, consume more, more is better. Many times, in the midst of more we miss the simplicity of God’s message. I can become so caught up in the reading. The writing. The studying. I miss the real message. God gives me a choice. Stay in Jerusalem and keep your position. Or, come travel with me to Bethlehem. Follow the Star. Leave your heart of stone. Leave who you think you should be. See who you can be when you allow your heart to be changed.