Great Plains Daily Devotional for 1/4/2023: Matthew 2:1-12

Today please be in prayer for

Fredonia: First UMC
Parsons District
Erie Federated Church
Galesburg UMC
St. Paul, KS UMC
Parsons District
Fall River UMC
New Albany UMC
Severy UMC
Parsons District
Arma UMC
Frontenac UMC
Parsons District

Today's Lectionary Text

Matthew 2:1-12 (CEB)

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the territory of Judea during the rule of King Herod, magi came from the east to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We’ve seen his star in the east, and we’ve come to honor him.”

When King Herod heard this, he was troubled, and everyone in Jerusalem was troubled with him. He gathered all the chief priests and the legal experts and asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what the prophet wrote:

You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
        by no means are you least among the rulers of Judah,
            because from you will come one who governs,
            who will shepherd my people Israel.

Then Herod secretly called for the magi and found out from them the time when the star had first appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you’ve found him, report to me so that I too may go and honor him.” When they heard the king, they went; and look, the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stood over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy. They entered the house and saw the child with Mary his mother. Falling to their knees, they honored him. Then they opened their treasure chests and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Because they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.

Today's Devotional

Deception. Lies. Corrupt. Three of many words we can use to characterize Herod. Instead of being well-meaning and pure of heart, he was ruthless and downright mean. If we were to picture Herod, he might just resemble Bryan Cranston of “Breaking Bad.” Now, that is a face that just makes you not want to cross paths with him in the middle of the night on a dark highway.  

And yet, Herod speaks some powerful words for us today as he says, Go and search carefully for the child. (v.8a). We know that Herod’s intentions were not to be honorable. During this Christmas Season I cannot help but wonder what life would be like if each one of us were to go and search very carefully for the child? What if when we found Him, we would allow Him to open our eyes and hearts to a world that is hurting and crying out for peace? What if when we found Him, we would surrender ourselves to Him in order to know abundant life? What if we allowed Him to transform us into this incredible individual who was so full of grace and glory that the atmosphere around us was changed by our presence?  

Do you want to encounter Christ? Go and search carefully for the child. He is waiting.

-- Rev. Hollie Tapley, disaster response coordinator
htapley@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection

Jesus, we are searching for You. We are following the star because we want to see You. We desire for our eyes to be open so we can see that peace on earth is needed. We really want to surrender to You, even though we are afraid. Transform us Jesus. Fill us with grace and glory so that You will be glorified in all that we do. Amen. 

 

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