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Miracles Right under Herod’s Nose

The powerful, ruthless, and cold-blooded king Herod the Great ruled Judea at the time Jesus was born.

He was called “Great” because he was a great builder. He built a series of fortress‒palaces. The largest and most spectacular of the fortresses, called the Herodion, was located on the highest hilltop at the edge of the Judean Wilderness and could be seen from Jerusalem, which was about ten miles away. Its walls were more than forty-five‒feet above the hill top with one watchtower reaching an additional sixty‒feet or more.

The fortress-palace alone covered 45 acres and was the third largest in the world. For miles, its shadow overpowered the landscape, which included Bethlehem three miles away. Herod’s visible presence was always a reminder of who was in power.

Matthew records, “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea in the days of Herod the king…” (2: 1). This account tells me that everything about Jesus’ birth and early life was a miracle orchestrated by God. After all, He was God’s son, and God demonstrated His protection. Have you noticed how every incident in this story reveals a miracle? Here are a few:

Miracle 1: Jesus’s birth in Jerusalem was right under Herod’s nose yet he wasn’t even aware of this event; nor the angels who visited the shepherds.

Miracle 2: Wise men called magi came from a great distance directed by a star. God used this means to entice and direct these star gazers. These men were Gentiles; why would they be so interested? Once they reached their destination their compelling question was: “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We have come to worship him” (Matt.2:2). God revealed to these Magi the divine assignment of this child, but the rest of His people hardly noticed.

Miracle 3: The star directed them to the exact location where Jesus, Mary, and Joseph lived at the time – “the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was” (Matthew 2:9, NIV).

Miracle 4: God put in the heart of the magi to bring many gifts to give to this newborn king; “gold, incense, and myrrh,” costly gifts. They were precisely what Joseph and Mary would need to sustain them when they fled to Egypt.

Miracle 5: The magi were “divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod,” so they quickly left another way. They knew Herod would be enraged when they didn’t report back to him.

Miracle 6: Shortly after, Joseph was warned in a dream. So they wouldn’t be seen from any powers of Herod’s military, they quickly escaped into the darkness that God provided them. Escaping under the patrol of Herod’s Herodion was itself a miracle.

Two kings were brought together, Herod the self‒glorifying king and the baby in Bethlehem’s manager who represented the true power. Each of these miracles show God’s hand in it all, right under Herod’s nose.

Florence Simmons writes to glorify God and to guide believers toward a deeper relationship with Christ. Reach Florence at www.common-sensewisdom.com., or write4hym@hotmail.com.