“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem” (2:1). The Bible is full of contrasts: Cain vs. Abel, Noah vs. his generation, Joseph vs. his brothers, Israel vs. the Canaanites, Moses vs. Pharaoh, David vs. Saul, the righteous man vs. the wicked (Psalm 1), Jesus vs. the Pharisees, sheep vs. goats, and so on. Here’s a great contrast between the wise men, who sought out the baby, and Herod who sought to kill him.
Herod’s actions, in and of themselves, were despicable and evil. Making them even more so is the fact that the wise men had told him the good news of the birth of Messiah and the place: “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel’” (2:5-6). How dark is the heart that refuses the Savior! But how wonderful are the promises given to those who receive him! The writer of Hebrews gives us this great promise: “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Wise men still seek him!
As with joyful steps they sped,
Savior, to thy lowly bed,
there to bend the knee before
thee, whom heav’n and earth adore,
so may we with willing feet
ever seek thy mercy seat. -- W. Chatterton Dix (1861)