Early Christmas Presence - Day 4

Early Christmas Presence

~Chief Priests and Scribes~

Early Christmas Presence—The Presence of Jesus was realized in the scrolls but neglected in the hearts of the Chief Priests and Scribes; religion had them content with explanations rather than personal encounters.

Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he (Herod) inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: ‘AND YOU, BETHLEHEM, LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE LEADERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU SHALL COME FORTH A RULER WHO WILL SHEPHERD MY PEOPLE ISRAEL.’
— Matthew 2:4-6


Ah, the chief priests and scribes. We know them well, but it is by a different name that they are usually referenced later in the scriptures - the Sadducees (temple hierarchy) and Pharisees (scribes and lawyers). 


Although no one truly likes to admit it, we can all find resonating similarities between ourselves and these law-abiding, black and white, very knowledgeable "men of God". These men represent the Israel of the Old Testament. They represent "religion" within the New Covenant.

They know God. They know what He has said. They want to do right, or at least to look righteous. They "know" God so well, that they have memorized His law and really like knowing the scriptural reference to whatever question about Him that anyone has. 

That's why when King Herod asked them about the Messiah, the one they all imagined as the King of an army coming in on a valiant white horse to slay the Roman government from the promised land of Israel, they were more than happy to tell him the answer to his question.

"Where is the Messiah to be born?" I can imagine them all in their white robes, standing before the king, recalling the words of the prophet Micah and reciting in unison like school kids performing for a prize, "In Bethlehem of Judea!" 

They [The Chief Priests and Scribes] had the answer! Yes! But did they have the faith to go to Bethlehem to see for themselves if it was the Messiah?

They are presented with the same opportunity as the Wise Men to witness the presence of Messiah - their king who they knew from the prophet's descriptions so well. But they weren't interested in having the experience. They were only interested in knowing the right answer. They sought answers but not The Answer and in doing so, missed experiencing The Presence of Jesus, not only in his early years—but often also in his public ministry decades later.

Being in relationship with God means being willing to experience His presence. His Word is good! We should memorize it and hide it away in our hearts. But why? So that when the opportunity to experience His presence arises, we will recognize it and jump to our feet and go to Him like the Wise Men. 

1 Corinthians 8:1 says it like this,

"Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.

" Without love, we will never humbly recognize the opportunity to be in Christ's presence for the honor that it is.


  • Have you ever been content to know about Jesus Christ but not to know His Presence for yourself?

  • How has knowing Christ personally versus just knowing about Him changed your life?

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Carol Hines