Jesus and Herod – two competing kings. Studying Matthew 2

An illegitimate king

The Gospel of Matthew begins with a genealogy which leads from Abraham to David to Jesus. The Israelites had long awaited a Messianic king who was to come from the line of David. Jesus is that Davidic king.

In Matthew 2, when Jesus is in his infancy, wise men come to Jerusalem seeking out the one has been born to be the king of the Jews (Matt. 2:1).

But then in chapter 2, you’re introduced to Herod. And it’s a striking contrast.

Background for Herod

Herod the Great ruled regions of Judea, Galilee in surrounding territories from 37 B.C. until his death in 4 B.C. He was Jewish, but he was not an Israelite. In other words, he was not Jewish ethnically. He had been appointed as a territorial king by Rome. This came at a time when the Jewish people wanted an independent nation but were under Roman occupation. Herod was loyal to Rome. He was also a brutal tyrant who had his wife and two of his own sons killed. For all of these reasons (and more), Herod was HATED by the Jewish people in Herod’s kingdom.

Two kings

So at the beginning of Matthew 2, when the wise men come to Herod seeking the king of the Jews, it struck a nerve.

In that, you have the rightful king and an illegitimate king. In another post, we’ll talk about the fallout of this, but in Matthew 2:16-18, Herod would seek out Jesus and in the process, have all of the infant males in the area of Bethlehem killed.

Who is your king?

Jesus is the rightful king of the Jews, the rightful king of kings, the rightful king of the universe. And he’s also meant to be the king of your life. 

Is he? 

Herod rejected his kingship and tried to have him killed. 

At the crucifixion, the Jewish leaders rejected his kingship and did have him killed. 

But we too often also reject his kingship. 

Herod didn’t want another king in Jerusalem.

But the sinful world doesn’t want a king over their lives. 

Herod was an illegitimate king who was too prideful and power hungry to know that there would be a rightful king, but that’s what the whole world does apart from Christ. We refuse to acknowledge his Lordship. 

So I ask again, who’s the king of your life? 

Is it Jesus? Is it yourself? Is it your family? Is it your money? Is it your security?

Thanks for reading! If you liked, please share and subscribe!