This is what the Lord says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Jeremiah 31: 15)
This is probably the saddest of all the prophecies that pointed to events surrounding the Christmas birth. Herod, the Jewish king at that time, was fearful of losing his grasp on power. Even though the high priests and teachers told him that the King prophesied in the Bible was only a baby, he reacted in fear and anger. How dare there be someone who would be a threat to his throne.
And this is how he reacted: 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. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: “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.” Matthew 2:16-18.
What a terrible scene as little ones were ripped from their mothers and families! Bethlehem was indeed filled with “weeping and mourning.”
The Newborn’s family had been warned by an angel to leave and go to Egypt to hide from Herod. What a foreshadowing of the future in store for Jesus about 33 years later! Angry crowds would seek out the innocent Man and put him to death. Jesus, unlike the children killed by Herod, was not just innocent, but also perfect. And while his death was horrific, it was the only way for Jesus to pay for our sins.
There are a number of paradoxes in the Christmas birth of our Savior. God and man born in a baby. A baby given life for the sole purpose of being crucified on a cross. Innocent children murdered to salve the fears of an evil king. And even in 2017, those who are so joyful because of Jesus’ birth and saving work, continue to choose to live in sin. Jesus came to solve the puzzle of how imperfect, sinful people are set right with a perfect God. He came to save the world because he loves us. Thank you Jesus.
Come on back tomorrow, the prophecy is not quite as sad. I will wait you.
This video clip does portray Herod’s need to kill Jesus. It also shows the weeping and mourning–the terrible events surrounding the fulfillment of another Christmas prophecy.