Have you ever had one of those “brain dead moments?” You know, a time when your brain seems to shut off and you utterly and completely mess up. A couple kids at my church like to quote Back to the Future when this happens. “Hello, hello? Anybody home? Think, McFly!” they say. It’s great fun. I had one of those moments not too long.
Is it possible that the birth of Jesus is not only good news but also disturbing news? In Matthew 2 we read the story of the journey of the Magi who are following a star en route to finding a new king. Along the way they meet with a king named Herod who is intrigued by their journey. But he’s also fearful. The news of a coming Messiah is described as ‘disturbing’ to Herod and his household.
The word translated as disturbing in Matthew 2 is used elsewhere in his gospel. It’s the word used by the disciples when they see Jesus walking on water and believe him to be a ghost. Matthew writes that they were disturbed or terrified or intimidated. Herod is feeling the same sentiment about Jesus. It’s quite a paradox: A king who lives in a guarded palace, surrounded by soldiers and weapons, is disturbed at the prospect of this new baby.
Yes, the birth of Jesus is good news to mankind. But to some, it is also disturbing news for it signals the beginning and the end.