Matthew 2:2-3 [Magi arrived in Jerusalem and said] “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
Have you ever pondered just this short portion? Herod was troubled. Troubled. And all Jerusalem with him. All Jerusalem was troubled.
Scared? Angered? Confused? Self-righteously trying to keep others from honest questioning of what these things mean? Quick to react to neighbors? Quick to overreact? Quick to be snarky? Quick to spew out ill timed advice? Quick to threaten others? Quick to hush the genuine worship of those who cannot know as much as they do (shepherds, etc)?
A troubled heart will overflow with troubling actions. The magi wanted to worship, the troubled hearts–what did they want? A troubled heart will trouble others. Herod’s troubled heart bubbled over as he became a terror, killing all the children who might fit the description.
There were those who were genuinely looking for the consolation of Israel. When they saw the baby Jesus they rejoiced. Looking to Him in the midst of any situation will greatly influence how you live through it. News came. Those who were His own by birth only did not receive Him (John 1); they were troubled. Their troubled hearts would eventually kill our LORD.
To those who did receive Him, to them Jesus gave the right to become a child of God (see John 1:12). And as His children, we too can grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3), pressing on toward maturity (Philippians 3). We can then heed His command to “let not your hearts be troubled.”
Jesus first came in the flesh as a baby. He grew. He lived for a while amongst Israelites. He slowly walked about, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, manifesting the glory of God. When He comes back, there will be no slow process, He will come like a thief in the night, at a time when none of His followers know or could possibly predict. Our hearts are not troubled at this–rather we look forward in hope to that day as a child anticipating the christmastime celebrations.
Our hearts are not troubled because we trust His steadfast love, and because we are kept by His power for that day, and because He will complete the work He has begun in us. Though let us be honest, our hearts tremble–because we are not perfect– and so we look to Him. We set our minds on Christ where He is (Colossians 3:1-4); we set our minds on the things of the Spirit and He breathes peace into our tender hearts (Romans 8:1-8)
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus who rescues us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus…
We are not troubled, we are waiting, and we are looking. We may be afflicted in many ways, and at times that may cause us to look for temporal blessings rather than the hope offered to us by our LORD. But thanks be to God who will never forsake us! He will refresh our languishing spirits.