When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
“A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
Matthew 2 : 16 – 18
Fear has a way of driving so many of our decisions. Sometimes we realise that fear is what is making the decisions, and other times we don’t realise what the driving force behind those decisions were until further reflection. We are living in a time filled with fear around the Coronavirus and it spreading, and the impact this virus has on the world around us.
In our passage, we see what fear of loss of power has done to Herod. He fears the loss of his power, after having learned about Jesus, and so his decision is to try to get rid of what is causing him this fear of loss of power. He doesn’t consider the impact this will have on others, he wants to calm his fear, so he has no qualms with his decision.
Fear is something which we have to deal with and wrestle with on a daily basis, and even more so now. We can either let it guide all our decisions, or we can see if there is a different way to respond. In a time when we are surrounded by reasons to fear, there is a different way to respond. We have just witnessed something that seemed impossible, and yet it still happened. Jesus has risen from the dead. So, we can either choose to let fear run the show, or we can trust in the impossible power of God, who shows us again and again that he has power over fear and death.
Prayer: God who has overcome death, we give you thanks that you have the last word. We give you thanks that you remind us of your love. Even when there is fear and worry abundant in the world around us, you come amongst us, and breathe your love and grace on us with more abundance than we could ever imagine. Help us to move beyond the fear in this world, and look for your presence. Amen.
Action: Take some time to notice what is driving your decisions. Is it fear or is it something else? If it is fear, see if there is a different way to respond. Maybe take a few minutes to think of how God would call you to respond in that moment.