King Herod was a villain long before he showed up in the pages of scripture. Obsessed with keeping his throne, Herod executed many of his political rivals and adversaries—including his own sons. When the magi came to Jerusalem looking for a newborn king, he was “troubled.”
Instinctively, Herod knew who this king must be. He gathered together the brightest of the religious experts and asked them an all-important question: where would the savior be born? His experts knew the answer. Not only that, they had committed the prophecy to memory and could quote it verbatim. Scripture declared that the savior would come from Bethlehem.
It’s worth pointing out here that Herod’s experts weren’t really interested in the savior. If anything, they were working with Herod. They were protecting Herod’s throne and running off anyone who might lay claim to it. Think of it. They knew the promises of scripture and even memorized what they said. But their hearts were untouched and unchanged.
All of this should serve as a warning to us. Headknowledge is not the same thing as heartknowledge. It’s possible to know God’s word, but never have a real, saving encounter with God. It’s possible to go through the motions of Christian faith and practice, but never come to know Jesus.
The magi were genuinely seeking Jesus. When they found Him, they rejoiced and bowed in worship. The experts gathered around Herod were religious on the outside, but empty on the inside.
Which one are you?