Herod’s Sword Drill

In Matthew 2 we read about King Herod being visited by Magi who had traveled to Bethlehem to see the new born King of the Jews.  Prior to the Magi knocking on Herod’s door it seems clear that Jerusalem was anything but atwitter about the Messiah’s arrival.  Life is business as usual. Only after the Magi’s appearance is Herod and all Jerusalem said to be troubled.  So Herod calls in the Jewish authorities and asks them where Messiah is supposed to be born.  Not surprisingly the Scribes and Chief Priests get the right passage and the right interpretation.  According to Micah 5 the Messiah is going to be born in Bethlehem.

What is surprising to me is that no one from Jerusalem seems to have tagged along with the Magi when they headed out for Bethlehem.  These Scribes and Chief Priests would have prided themselves on their expertise concerning the scriptures.  When Herod asked the question not only did they get it right but they even knew the scripture reference. (Does anyone else picture a little sword drill right here to see who can find Micah 5:2 first and read it?) But no one seems to have thought it might be worth while to go see what the fuss was about.  Their long awaited Messiah was I a house just a few short miles away and they didn’t know it.

Now I’d like to think that I truly enjoy reading and understanding God’s Word.  Lately I’ve been all about trying to get people to pick a Bible reading plan for the coming year.  I want my kids to memorize verses and I have every intention of teaching them a Christian Worldview.  But this passage teaches me that it is possible to know a lot about the scripture and still not get it.

I’m reminded once again of 1 Timothy 1:5, “The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  Our goal isn’t to always get the right answer or win the debate.  We don’t saturate our minds with scripture just so we can impress people with what we know or feel good about ourselves.  We read it and meditate on it and listen to it taught anticipating that a better understanding will lead to love and faith and repentance.

There were a lot of people who knew their Bibles who missed Jesus’ first coming and there will be those who know their Bibles and aren’t ready for His second coming (see Luke 17:26-30).  Let’s be warned by this text so that we will never desire to know the Bible for any reason other than that we might know Christ.

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