Read Matthew 2:1-18.

Wisconsin winters provided the opportunity to play one of the most competitive games of my childhood, “King of The Hill”. The snowplow would push all the snow off the streets into our cul-de-sac, forming a 20 foot mound of snow. Kids would gather from all corners of the neighborhood to see who would be “King of the Hill”. The game simple: whoever is standing at the top of the hill is king (or queen). And that person does whatever it takes to stay on the hill, while the others do whatever it takes to claim the top for themselves.

In Matthew 2:2 the Magi ask Herod: “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” This question sparked one of the fiercest battles of “king of the hill”. Rome had given Herod the title “King of the Jews” and no one–not even a baby with His own star–was going to knock him off his mountain top. This disturbed Herod and “all Jerusalem with him.” For they knew he would do whatever it took to remain king of the hill, even if it meant killing all the children in Bethlehem.

So often we do whatever it takes to remain “king of the hill” even if it means keeping Jesus from taking the hill and ruling as our king. We rebel against God’s law and allow our sinful desires to rule in relationships, life decisions, priorities, and the manner in which we deal with challenges in a New Year.

But no one, neither Herod nor us (with our sinful rebellion) could keep Jesus from being king of the hill. For this is God’s plan of salvation from the beginning of time. And so, Jesus took the hill and stood on top…hanging on a cross. There above His head on the cross the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, gave Jesus the title “King of the Jews”, and there on the hill called “the Skull” Jesus became the King of kings forever. By His death and resurrection Jesus cast sin, death, and the devil down the hill forever. Forty days later while He was speaking with His disciples on a hill, Jesus ascended even higher into heaven as King over all. As citizens of His kingdom through Holy Baptism, this New Year the King is with us to rule our hearts and our minds with His love and forgiveness.

Have a great day in the LORD!

Originally published at on 1/14/11.