Key Verse: Matthew 2:2
Big Idea: Jesus has always divided people. Even when He was still a child, people had one of two responses: worship or hatred.
Probably a little under two years after Jesus’ birth, a group of stargazers from the East came to worship Jesus. They saw a special star in the sky, and apparently familiar with some Old Testament prophecies, decided to come and see the King of the Jews. We do not know how many there were, but we know they brought three gifts: gold and two expensive scents (frankincense, which was burned, and myrrh, an oily perfume). Like the queen of Sheba had come to honor King David (1 Kings 10:1-10), these men come to recognize His heir. But on the way, they meet the current king of Israel, the wicked King Herod who, instead of going to worship the true King, sends the magi (or wise men) to find out where Jesus is, so Herod can try to destroy Him.
Older Kids: Matthew 2 tells us that Herod had all of the babies under the age of 2 in the vicinity of Bethlehem killed. Herod was well known for his viciousness, killing even his own children when he thought they wanted his power.
There is no neutral reaction to any King. Either you recognize their authority and serve them, or you rebel against them. Jesus came as the authority that would replace all others, even the two that enslaved the whole world: sin and death.
Discussion idea: Why was Herod so afraid of Jesus’ claim to authority? How do people respond today to the idea that Jesus is King?
Prayer Focus: Have each family member write down (or draw a picture for younger kids) about how they have resisted Jesus’ kingship instead of worshiping Him. When everyone has written it down, take a moment to pray for forgiveness and the strength to follow Him too. You might want to pile the papers together to burn them, as a reminder of the assurance of God’s forgiveness and a picture of the star the wise men followed.