1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. 2 They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”
3 When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him.
—Matthew 2:1-3 (CEB)
It’s not really surprising when the visitors from the east that Herod found himself troubled. Like most men of power I’mm sure he was always on the lookout for those who would usurp his throne and cast him by the wayside. The language of another king would certainly upset the apple cart and put Herod on edge.
What surprises me is the statement that ALL of Jerusalem was troubled as well. Why? After all, weren’t the religious folks of Jerusalem looking for the Messiah? Shouldn’t they have been prepared that the one who would bring a new kingdom to overthrow Rome would be coming? Why then were they troubled.
Of course, we don’t know for sure, but we can read between the lines and make a guess. Could it be that wishing for a Messiah is fine in the abstract, but less secure when one actually sees it coming to pass? Might it be that the comfort and security known in the oppressive Roman Empire felt better than the unknown of a new nation? And, since the Messiah was supposed to be a Jewish thing, what’s up with these Persian magicians who want to worship this new ruler? These foreigners come into the middle of the church and suggest that something new is happening, and they want to be a part of it. I guarantee that most ANY community would be troubled if this came down.
That is the trouble with Jesus. No matter where he shows up he overthrows the expectations folks have of him. The reality is a bit more disconcerting than the expectation, for in the reality we have one who is positively bringing forth a new kingdom, and who uses all sorts of people — even people unlike us — to bring it to fruition.
Where are the places in your life that Jesus is troubling?