The Ruler Who Cares for His People
Micah 5:2-5a; Matthew 2:1-6, 9-11
The coming King who would shepherd His people. (Mic. 5:2-5a)
The prophet Micah was a contemporary of both Isaiah and Hosea. He wrote a word of warning, but also a word of comfort for the people of Israel’s Northern Kingdom who would be conquered by the Assyrian Empire.
Today’s passage involves the beautiful Christmas prophecy about Bethlehem and its importance as the birthplace of the coming Ruler. It was this prophecy that led the wise men from the East in search of the promised King.
But this King would be far different from all other earthly kings, who send their subjects to die. This King comes to die for His subjects.
But beyond His sacrificial death would be His role as a shepherd to His flock. In His great “I Am” statements in the Gospel of John, Jesus would declare, “I am the Good Shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep” (10:11). The Good Shepherd leads, protects and provides for the sheep.
It has always seemed somewhat humorous to me that the Bible refers to us as sheep. Isaiah 53 gives a great description of us – the sheep. Sheep are not very smart. Someone has said sheep get lost one blade of grass at a time. Sheep can be fearful and need a shepherd in order to rest. Psalm 23 is a beautiful picture of the loving care of the Good Shepherd.
In verse 5, Micah states this about the coming Messiah: “He will be our peace.” Ephesians 2:14 echoes that statement. Indeed, Jesus Christ has made peace with God by paying the penalty our sin and God’s holiness demanded.
Just a few weeks ago we were celebrating the angelic announcement of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). However, in 2021 our world is anything but peaceful. Russia is massing troops on Ukraine’s border while China is sending fighters over Taiwan. At home, we hear every day about some senseless act of violence. So, while we understand the world will not be at peace until Jesus comes again, we celebrate the truth that peace has come to Earth in the baby born in Bethlehem’s manger.
The wise men were led to seek out the messianic King. (Matt. 2:1-6)
The wise men who searched for the new king of the Jews were astrologers, learned men who had studied the ancient prophecies and most certainly noted Numbers 24:17: “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.”
Recognition of who Jesus is should lead us to worship Him. (Matt. 2:9-11)
These wise men set out on a journey that has been estimated to be between 400 and 700 miles. They made a significant commitment to search for the King. They came with gifts that carried symbolic and spiritual significance.
The phrase, “Wise men still seek Him,” is ever true. No search is more significant than the diligent search for Jesus. Once you encounter Him, the natural response is to fall down and worship Him. O come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!
By Don Fugate
Fugate is senior pastor at Foxworthy Baptist Church in San Jose, California.