This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on January 8, AD 2023.
Everybody has to do something with Christ. Every single person, when confronted with Jesus of Nazareth, must do something about Him.
The Wise Men had a great interest in Christ. Following a star they traveled from afar in order to fall down before Him in worship. They eagerly sought Him out in order to humbly lay gifts at His feet, and His presence made them “rejoice with exceedingly great joy” (Mt. 2:10).
Herod the Great also had a great interest in Christ. But he was a liar and did not truly desire to worship Him. Rather the news of this rival king greatly troubled him, and he needed to destroy him.
With these two examples, we see that when Christ is made manifest to the world, He is either worshiped and adored, or hated and reviled. To some He is the aroma of life leading to life, and to others He is the aroma of death leading to death (2 Cor. 2:16).
Another way of saying this is that there is no neutrality when it comes to Christ.
In this life, He is the great fork in the road, and our responses to Him determine our eternal destination. You are either with Him or against Him (Mt. 12:30). You are either united to Him in His death and resurrection or you are without a hope in the world, condemned in your sins (Jn. 3:18, 36).
Now I also want you to note the fruit of these two responses to Christ.
Herod’s hatred toward God and this lowborn King led to the massacre of the innocents in Bethlehem. He desired to strike at God and when he was unable to do this, his wrath landed on the closest he could get – little boys made in God’s image. Herod teaches us that the hatred of God always leads to the hatred of men.
On the other hand, we know that love toward God always leads to the love of brother and neighbor. As St John wrote, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God” (1 Jn. 4).
So let us like the Wise Men fall down and worship Christ our Lord. And may this love of God then turn us toward one another in love. For this is the commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother (1 Jn. 4).