20th Day of Advent
16Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:
18“A voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Thus says the Lord:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.”
Herod the Great never shied away from shedding innocent blood. When he issued his execution order, he included children older than the age ascertained from the Magi just to make certain that he found his target. Herod’s swordsmen ruthlessly slaughtered all male children two years old and under. Can you even imagine? What if something similar happened in our town?
You won’t find this scene on a Christmas card, but this is the reality of the world that Jesus entered. A world that is filled with dictators and unimaginable pain. God entered our painful, human, reality and he suffered with us and for us. God was in control in the midst of such sorrow and evil. And He is still on His throne today. Recently, our world has faced senseless and heartbreaking terrorist attacks, shootings, dictator regimes that oppress countless millions— yet in the middle of all this sorrow we can cling to the hope of the cross. We look in hope to Christ’s 2nd Advent.
In 2 Corinthians 4:17 Apostle Paul promises that our earthly afflictions are producing for us “an eternal glory that outweighs our trouble.” When faced with earthly trouble, we weep. But by faith, we press into the hope of eternal glory.
Questions to Ponder
- What has following Christ cost you? What has it cost your family?
- Jeremiah’s prophecy underscores the fact that God knew full well the broader costs associated with Jesus’ birth. Does the pain of following Christ outweigh the pain living apart from God?
- How does the suffering of Christ equip us to deal with the trouble that we and our loved ones endure?