Three attitudes toward the Christ child

Last Sunday evening, as we looked at the Biblical story of the visit of the wise men, we saw that there were three different attitudes shown towards the Christ child. First, there was the open hostility of Herod. He saw the news of the birth of Christ as a threat to his rule. And Herod was not a man to sit idly by when he saw a threat. He was a man who had one of his wives and three of his sons killed, supposedly because they planned to kill him. But when he heard from the wise men that they were seeking a king who was born, he told them to find this king and return word to him so that he could go and worship the child himself. As they would say on “Snopes”, that was a “pants of fire”. He had no intention of worshipping Christ, but only desired to kill him. When he saw that the wise men had not returned, he ordered the murder of every child in Bethlehem and surrounding areas from 2 years old and under, just to ensure that the child king was killed. The second attitude was the indifference of the high priests and scribes. We are not sure if they knew of the birth of Jesus or the star’s appearance that the wise men saw. But with the wise men asking in Jerusalem about the whereabouts of the newborn king and then Herod calling them in to demand the location of His birth, they had to know about His coming. And of course, they knew the Old Testament prophecies. They knew that He was to be born in Bethlehem. They gave that news to Herod. When the wise men heard it, they rushed to go see the child. But nowhere do we read that any of the chief priests or scribes made any effort to go see Jesus. They were indifferent. They didn’t seem to care. It would have impacted their lives and they were comfortable where they were. They had the attitude of who cares. The third attitude was the attitude of the wise men. We don’t know how many there were, there may have been many more than three. But we do know that we came to Jerusalem seeking the Christ child. They began to ask all over the city – “Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Their attitude was one of worship. The word for worship there is proskuneo which means to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship. They didn’t make that long journey for scientific exploration, or for mere curiosity. They made that long journey for one purpose – to worship the Child who would be King. We see those attitudes yet today. There are some that do come to worship Christ. They may have different methods of worship, but they come to worship. Then there are those who are indifferent. They could care less about Jesus. He makes no impact in their lives, and they want to keep it that way. They don’t care what others do, but they have more important things to do. The last is the open hostility. Not only do they not worship Christ, they don’t want any public worship of Christ. They don’t want any reminder of Jesus, they want it kept quiet and indoors. Some may vandalize, some may file lawsuits, some may push for laws to be changed, but the underlying motive is hostility.

What should we, as Christians do when we encounter these attitudes? Rejoice when others worship, witness when others are indifferent, and pray when others are hostile.