Audiences of Rejection

By Jacob Toman

Many people were looking, waiting with anticipation for the coming Messiah; some even went so far as to study the scriptures and understand the signs pointing to the savior. Not everyone, however, shared the same desire and motivation in studying these signs. There were many who heard about God’s savior coming into the world, and were fearful. Today, as we examine the audiences of rejection, we will look into the life of a person who rejected the coming of the Messiah into the world.

 King Herod

King Herod

Herod was one of the highest government officials in the Roman Province of Judea when he heard about the coming Messiah.


Warm Up questions:

1.  How do leaders come to power?

2.  How do leaders maintain their power?


Matthew 2:1-23

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem

2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.

4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.

5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;

for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”


7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.

8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.

10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.

11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.


13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt,

15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 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.

17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “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.”


19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt

20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.

22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee,

23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.


1.  What was Herod’s reaction to the news of the coming Messiah?

2.  What might Herod have been worried about?

3.  How is God involved in power struggles and governments?

4.  How was God involved in the lives of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus in this story?

5.  Do our fears come from a worry of the unknown, or a worry of loss of control?

6.  What can we encourage ourselves and one another with from this story?