One week until Christmas. This Sunday my pastor will be finishing the Advent Sermon Series we’ve been doing on the “fulfillment” passages of Matthew 1-2. He should be covering 2.16ff. with a focus on vv. 17-18. In this passage the words of the prophet Jeremiah are found useful for explaining the misery caused by Herod’s decision to slaughter the infants and youngest children of Bethlehem because his paranoid state-of-being would not allow him to live with the thought that a “King” was born in Bethlehem.
Herod was a lunatic. He has his own sons killed because he thought they were a threat to the throne. It is amazing that a man who had power feared everyone and anyone who threatened it, including a small child whom he did not know. There is a quote attributed to Lord Acton which states, “All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
As we watch the leaders of this world do their thing it seems apparent that this is true. Democracy has it’s problems, but dictatorships seem to create the largest messes globally. Humans do not tend to make very good kings.
What if God were King? What is God ruled the world instead of humans? What is God ruled through a human?
This is why hope in that small child Jesus is different than hope in any politician or world ruler. Jesus is the one through whom God rules the world. Jesus is the one through whom humanity finds its destiny and purpose. In Jesus humanity meets God and God meets humanity. Only a person like this could avoid Lord Acton’s warning against despot behavior.
So we await the return of our King. Advent is that time of remembering that he visited us once, that he ascended into heaven where he reigns in the authority of God the Father, and that he will return to unite heaven and earth in perfect peace–shalom!