Was it an honest mistake, an incalculably costly six-mile overshoot, or were the Magi actually led to knock on the door of the vicious king, to ask him, of all people, where the new king was?
Did they realize how threatening their inquiry was to Herod? Could they pick up on the subtle non-verbals, the surreptitious looks exchanged, the eyebrows raised… ? Could they feel the fear ripple through the room… ? Could they see through the evil king’s religious charade...?
Go and make careful search for the Child… and when you find Him, come back and tell me so I too can worship Him.
Yea, sure, your royal highness… you are most welcome to join us, but if not, we’ll do all the work on behalf of your majesty and make it really REALLY easy, really REALLY convenient for you to worship this new king… You don’t have to lift your little finger… just sit there on your royal throne and we’ll bring this new king to you on a platter so to speak….
How did Herod's words sound to the weary travelers after they have braved maybe six thousand miles, watching thousand sunrises and sunsets and everything in between – feeding and watering the animals, caring for their saddle sores, carrying their wounded hearts along with the gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh…? How did they ring in their ears… these words of cheap worship that oozed like molasses off the king’s lips?
And what about all those religious know-it-alls who sent them off on the last bit of their long journey without actually joining them?
Sometimes there is a greater distance between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, than between Bethlehem and the furthest end of the earth.
Were they led by God to this king and his entourage so their true heart can be exposed or was it an honest mistake?
Either way, the results were catastrophic. Their little deviation resulted in the worst kind of nightmare any parent could imagine... the shedding of innocent children’s blood at the hand of the deranged king.
Was it a premonition of the catastrophic price the innocent baby in Mary's arms, the innocent Lamb of God would soon pay to ransom all the thieves and liars, all the murderers and adulterers and all the religious know-it-alls of this broken world?
This post is the fourth installment in the Magi-cal Journey series.