The people had been waiting a long time for deliverance. Alien armies roamed their land, and spiritual leaders looked after their own welfare rather than that of the people. In such circumstances, despite their tradition-cluttered religion, the people waited for Him of whom the prophets spoke, at whose advent and under whose benign and righteous rule they expected their problems to disappear.

In a stable one wintry night, this Child of destiny was born. Angels proclaimed the good news. Shepherds left their flocks and came to see him. Men in far countries who studied the heavens saw a new star, harbinger of a King. Loading their camels and trekking across the weary miles of desert to do him homage, they arrived one day at Herod’s gate and inquired, “Where is He … born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship Him.” Later they placed gifts at his feet—perfumes from Edom, myrrh from the forest, pearls from the sea, gold from the mine.

Shadows surrounded this promised Messiah even in childhood, and before long his parents were forced to flee their homeland to save him from evil men. After his return to Nazareth he toiled unrecognized and unknown at the carpenter’s bench, shaping timbers to the needs of men; each day he partook of the experiences of the race he had come to save. During those years, pious souls no doubt often recalled the events at Bethlehem and asked, “Where is He … born King of the Jews?”

One day a humble prophet came out of the wilderness proclaiming: “Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Thousands longing for deliverance from religious bondage and political tyranny flocked to hear him. Being a Jew is not sufficient, warned John the Baptist. Entrance into the Kingdom is conditioned upon repentance and faith in the One who has come. The long-awaited Messiah, moreover, will appear in judgment, John assured his listeners. The ax will be laid to the root of the tree, he said, and all who fail to bring forth good fruit will be hewn down and cast into consuming fire.

One morning the Galilean laid aside his tools, untied his workman’s apron, and set out for the River Jordan. He bore no royal scepter. He wore no regal robe. But there before John and his followers he was revealed as the Messiah. “We beheld his glory,” John the Apostle said of him years later, “the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Grace and truth—these tokens marked his divinity.

Then began the greatest ministry the world has ever known. Brushing aside the empty traditions and human speculations, he gave men a new vision of God and a deeper understanding of righteousness, sin, and salvation. “I and my Father are one,” he said. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” He healed the sick. The blind were made to see. The lame walked. Even the dead rose at his command. Those who heard his gracious words exclaimed, “Never man spake like this man.”

But there was opposition. Those who looked only for political leadership were disappointed in him. The proud and self-righteous resented his claims. It was the poor, the needy, the depressed in spirit, those who longed more for righteousness than for political deliverance, who followed him.

After a ministry of almost three years, the Nazarene rode into Jerusalem one beautiful spring morning. Although a joyful populace acclaimed him “King of the Jews,” cruel hands soon seized him. Within a few short days he was led to Calvary and was crucified. In the days that followed, his friends doubtless searched their hearts and again asked, “Where is He … born King of the Jews?”

Through the gloom that enveloped those who had forsaken all to follow him, came word that he was risen—he had appeared to several women and to a few disciples! He who had died was alive again! In the days that followed his resurrection, hundreds saw him. Before his ascension, he encouraged the disciples’ faith. Later, after receiving his Spirit at Pentecost, they went forth with boldness and joy to tell all the world the Gospel of his life, death, and resurrection.

Almost two thousand years have passed since his birth at Bethlehem. Peace and good will are still not abroad in the world. Confused multitudes continue to ask: “Where is He … born King of the Jews?” Let us tell them he has come. Let us proclaim his message of salvation. Let us point to that new day when indeed righteousness will vanquish evil, when he that was born in the manger of Bethlehem will reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!


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