Think of any monarchy in the history of the world. The royal family may have had a few princes and princesses. It may have even had more than one queen, as did the kingdoms of David and Solomon. But there was only one king.

The king in today’s text was a madman. Herod murdered his own wives and children because he feared they would try to usurp his power. Augustus Caesar reportedly joked it was better to be Herod’s pig than his son, because out of deference to the Jews he wouldn’t kill his pig. On his deathbed, Herod ordered a stadium to be filled with Jewish political and religious leaders, wanting them killed when he died so that tears would be shed at his passing. Thankfully, these wishes weren’t obeyed.

But although Herod was a madman, he wasn’t completely crazy. He understood that there could only be one king. If the baby in Bethlehem was the “king of the Jews,” then that meant Herod wasn’t (Matthew 2:2). So he killed all the boys “who were two years old and under” in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16).

Herod’s twisted ravings reveal the sober truth of Christmas. The Son of God didn’t enter our world to prop up our own fragile kingdoms. He did not enter this world so He could rubber-stamp our plans or whatever our desires compel us to do. Jesus came to rule, because defeating all other powers is the only way He can “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). The Father sent Jesus to rescue us from Satan’s “kingdom of darkness and [transfer] us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom” (Colossians 1:13-14).

Jesus loves us too much to share His sovereign rule with any lesser power. His very presence challenges all other realms. There can only be one king in your life. Who will it be?

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 Timothy 4:1-16