When he (King Herod) had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written.” Matthew 2:4-5
Weren’t the chief priests and the teachers of the law even a tiny bit curious? Herod asks where the Messiah was to be born. These priests and teachers had been waiting for the promised Messiah for a long time. They spent much of their time studying the Scriptures. They were well acquainted with God’s promises. Now they are told that some wise men had arrived claiming the Messiah had been born. Surely this was unusual. Why didn’t they think—perhaps we should go to Bethlehem—just in case. It was only a 10 kilometres journey, but they stayed in Jerusalem because this wasn’t how they expected the Messiah to arrive.
The wise men didn’t have the historical background that the priests and the teachers had. They were most likely unaware of the many prophesies concerning a Messiah. Yet they had seen a star and that was enough to move them to travel hundreds of kilometres to Jerusalem to “worship him” (verse 2). The priests and teachers with all their head knowledge wouldn’t travel a mere 10 kilometres.
As Christians we may have much head knowledge, but does it move us to worship? Do we watch others, who have less knowledge but more enthusiasm, worshipping God? Are we waiting for God to accommodate our expectations?
Head knowledge that doesn’t move us to action is of little value. If reading the Bible doesn’t impact our lives and cause us to change, we become like the priests and teachers—stuck in Jerusalem, while God is doing a great work in Bethlehem.