Q: I’ve heard that someone tried to kill Jesus shortly after he was born. Why would they do that? Didn’t they realize who Jesus was? — S.S.
A: You’re right; when King Herod (who ruled that part of the world) heard about Jesus’ birth, he did everything he could to have him killed. The wise men had told Herod that they were seeking the newborn king of the Jews, and Herod was determined to stamp out any potential rival to his throne.
Herod, however, did not reveal his evil plans to the wise men. Instead, he urged them to find the baby and then to return and tell him where the newborn king could be found so he too could go worship him. But God warned the wise men of Herod’s true intentions, and instead of returning they evaded him and left by another way for their homeland.
Tragically, when King Herod realized the wise men had escaped, he ordered his soldiers to kill every young child in the town of Bethlehem. Centuries before, the prophet Micah had written that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and Herod hoped the newborn king would be one of the children his soldiers killed. But God had already warned Joseph of Herod’s plot, and he safely fled to Egypt with Mary and the child.
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What can we learn from this? First, it reminds us that evil is real and that Satan will do everything he can to stop God’s plans and harm God’s people. Jesus warned his disciples, “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20). But it also should remind us that even when evil seems to be winning, God is still at work, and in the end Christ alone will be victorious. Is your faith and trust in him?
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or go to BillyGraham.org.