"The star proclaims the King is here; But, Herod, why this senseless fear? For He who offers heav'nly birth Seeks not the kingdom of this earth.
"For this Thy glad epiphany All glory, Jesus, be to Thee, Whom with the Father we adore, and Holy Spirit evermore."
King Herod worried endlessly about holding on to his power and his kingdom. He murdered his wife and three of his sons because he considered them to be threats to his throne. So, when Herod heard about the wise men who arrived in Jerusalem seeking the new King of the Jews, "he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him" (Matthew 2:3b). Herod viewed the little King in Bethlehem as a threat to his jealously guarded power. Sending the wise men on their way with instructions to return with information on the young King, Herod made plans to destroy the Child. Warned in dreams, the wise men returned home another way as Joseph, Mary, and the Child Jesus fled to Egypt to escape Herod's murderous wrath.
Herod may have been filled with "senseless fear," but his throne was in no danger from the new King. The Child born in Bethlehem was "to be ruler in Israel" (Micah 5:2b), but Jesus did not come to seek the kingdoms of the earth. The devil would later offer to Jesus what Herod feared, tempting Jesus with "all the kingdoms of the world and their glory" if only the Savior would worship the evil foe (see Matthew 4:8). Jesus refused. Worship is owed to God alone. A crowd that Jesus fed with bread and fish sought to "take Him by force to make Him king" (John 6:15b), but the Lord withdrew from them.
Finally, betrayed into the hands of His enemies, the Savior was accused of making Himself a king. When the Roman governor questioned Jesus' Kingship, the Lord replied, "My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36b). Then, for the sake of our salvation, Jesus was given a crown and a royal title that He did not refuse. Soldiers mocked Him, crowning Him with thorns. He was lifted up on a cross, with a notice posted above His thorn-crowned head: "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews" (John 19:19b).
The crucified King was taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb. But on the first Easter morning, Jesus rose victorious over death and the grave. The devil, so confident in his power and his kingdoms, fell in defeat. The crucified and risen Savior ascended to reign at the right hand of God the Father. Through Jesus Christ, exalted now as King of kings and Lord of lords, God "has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:13-14).
Long ago, a star proclaimed that the King had come, but when Jesus returns on the Last Day, no starry decree will be needed. We will joyfully announce: "The King is here!"
THE PRAYER: Jesus, I worship You as King of kings and Lord of lords. Come quickly, Lord. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "The Star Proclaims the King is Here, which is number 399 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Herod was criminally paranoid about losing his power. Are there people like him today? Who?
2. Do you think the wise men returned to the east as believers in Jesus as their Lord and Savior?
3. How did Jesus thwart the devil's evil intentions when He was being tested in the wilderness?
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