The Open Scroll - The Accountability Factor

The Accountability Factor

By Bob Schlenker  (Prints about 2 pages)

Have you ever given much thought to the way the people around Bethlehem responded to the shepherd's testimony the night our Lord was born? A few years ago, I was thinking about it and was struck very emotionally with the conviction that the locals didn't really believe their message. It seemed plain enough to me that the scriptures would have told us if the local townspeople had responded with faith. As a related issue, I've often thought about the tragic murder of the boys two years old and under of that area as decreed by Herod and have puzzled over what that was all about. Why did this tragedy occur? Well, I just discovered that 2+2=4! What a revelation!

Think about it for a moment. Only the people of Bethlehem and its vicinity were directly effected by Herod's genocidal solution so that they, as a community, were singled out. It was these very same people, out of all Israel, who had heard the testimony of the shepherds.  I believe these people received a special blessing on that night our Lord was born as the recipients of that announcement. In having received much by way of this blessing, according to the Lord's own words, much would be demanded of them.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48b
Could the loss of their male children who were about the same age as God's only begotten son really have been related to their having received the testimony of the shepherds on the night Jesus was born? Could their loss have been the penalty demanded of them for not responding appropriately with faith to that "much" that had so graciously been given them? I say, YES!

The male children around the same age as Jesus were the only ones murdered! It was certainly because of Jesus that Herod decreed the genocide, and I believe that its just as certain that it was because of Jesus that those boys had to die. The penalty had to be paid by the people of Bethlehem and its vicinity because they had been given much and had not given much in return. Consider the following passages.
When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, {18} and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. {19} But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. {20} The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.  Luke 2:17-20
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." Matthew 2:16-18
The message the Bethlehemites heard on the night Jesus was born was "the word concerning what had been told them about this child." Specifically, as recorded in Luke 2:11, this "word" was:
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
It must have been fairly common knowledge at that time that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem in Judea. (See Matthew 2:3-6) Upon hearing the report from the shepherds, the Bible says that these people were amazed - in the Greek - thaumazo Strong's #2296. If you study the occurrences of this word, you find that there are places where this response was made by both those who believed what amazed them, and who did not believe what amazed them. Whether or not those in any of these accounts that were amazed actually believed must be gleaned solely from the context of the occurrence of the word. In Bethlehem, the people did not believe the shepherd's report that Christ the Lord had been born in their town, even though Micah 5:2 declares plainly that he would be... and they knew this prophecy. They were held accountable.

Did you know that Jerusalem was trashed in 70 AD? They had heard and seen the testimony about Jesus and, as a city and national entity,rejected him as their Messiah. Luke 19:44 reveals why.
They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you.
Do you think those of this age who reject Jesus will be spared? I bet not. If you care about people and have some idea of how much one repentant person means to the Lord, why not do something about it? You have been given a unique set of abilities, talents, if you will. Unto whom much is given, much is demanded. You will be held accountable for your stewardship.
Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.  Ecclesiastes 12:13-14