The wise men who came from the East were men of great importance, VIPs. If they came to our country today, they would arrive with an entourage amid high levels of security. These were important people who came to Jerusalem and announced that it had been revealed to them that one had been born King of the Jews.
This was the wrong thing to say to a guy like King Herod. History tells us, as well as Scripture, that Herod was a paranoid tyrant. He always was worried about someone taking over his throne. In fact, he liked to refer to himself as the king of the Jews. To hear another described this way by foreign dignitaries was troubling.
The word troubled used in Matthew 2:3 means "agitated, stirred up, shaken up." Herod was shaken. Whenever Herod was stressed out, everyone was stressed out, because when Herod sensed there was a rival to his throne, he would start having people killed. By bitter experience, people knew that if Herod suspected a threat to his power, heads would roll. Literally. Herod viewed the dignitaries' announcement as a threat to his kingdom. So he sent word to have this so-called King of the Jews killed.
There are a lot of people like Herod today. They will not allow anyone or anything to interfere with their career, their lifestyle, or their plans. They see Jesus as a threat to all of that. They don't mind celebrating the birth of Jesus, as long as He stays in the manger as a baby. There are OK with God, as long as He stays out of their lives. But like Herod, they miss what they have been searching for all along.
Taken from "The Trouble with Herod" by Harvest Ministries (used by permission).