One of my family’s favorite card games is the Great Dalmuti – a game where strategy can defeat rank and peons can become the leaders. But no matter how many shenanigans happen during the round, there is only one person who becomes the Dalmuti and starts the next round. It felt like that in my inductive study of Matthew 2 today.
Inductive, in this case, just means that I read it through enough times to catch the details. Like training to be Sherlock Holmes. At the beginning of the chapter, several important characters are introduced: Jesus, Herod (the king), and the Magi from the east. The Magi come to Herod in his royal palace, and ask him where the King of the Jews has been born.
“What? There can only be one king of the Jews!” Herod thinks…but he tried to convince the Magi that he is excited to meet this usurper…uh, new king. He sends them to go find Jesus.
Herod is called a king three times in verses 1- 9 as the Magi seek out the new Messiah. But everything changes in verses 10-11:
“10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
Worship – as only a King deserves. The traveling wise men presented the young Child gifts fit for a king, and gave Him honor. Then they left for their own city, disobeying the orders of Herod.
And Herod…well, he is never called a king again in the text. Not in the warning dream, or when referring to his death, or even when he killed all the babies in Bethlehem. Herod may have ruled on earth, but his days were numbered.
Jesus is called a Son of David, and this reminds me of when David was anointed king of Israel instead of Saul. Just because he was God’s chosen king did not mean that David got to jump on the throne the next day. He had to work his way up from the bottom, be chased around the wilderness, and go through many trials. But it was a sure path to his reign as king. And Jesus? Well, He never became king on earth (in fact, He had to stop an overeager group from holding His coronation preemptively). The crown He wore was of thorns. But it is only a matter of time. Just like David, Jesus has been anointed King by God, and He will rule. But though He is the Son of David and the Son of God, Jesus started out more like a peon in the Great Dalmuti, and He offers each of us the chance to rule with Him as fellow heirs of the promised Kingdom. Now that is a gift that moves us up in the world!
God, thank You for the truth in the Bible that is simple to find if we are looking for it. Thank You that Jesus is King, and it is only a matter of time before He rules. Please help me to live in that truth like it is already here – living like royalty, not like a peon. It’s all from Your gift, so all to Your glory. Amen.