Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 – Herod who wanted to be entertained – Luke 22:69-71

When we hear that name, where do our first thoughts turn? Of course, our thoughts turn to the visit of the Magi and the killing of the baby boys in Bethlehem.

The Magi came to Herod and asked, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2a). This question was very bothersome to Herod as the Roman Senate had elected Herod as “King of the Jews” around 40 BC. Herod didn’t want anyone to take his place, especially a newborn King. After consulting with his chief priest and scribes, he directed the Magi to Bethlehem. He told them, “Go and search diligently for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” (Matthew 2:8).

When the Magi, after being warned in a dream of Herod’s intentions, did not come back, Herod “…was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.” (Matthew 2:16b).

Isn’t it hard to imagine anyone being this cruel? How could anyone do this? Knowing a little bit more about Herod, it really makes sense. Herod was fearful of loosing his power and was jealous of anyone who might take his place. After appointing his brother-in-law, Aristobulus III, as high priest, Herod ordered his drowning because of Aristobulus’ rising popularity. He had his wife, Mariamne I, killed because of his jealousy, ordered the death of his mother-in-law, Alexandria, because he thought she was trying to have him dethroned, and also ordered the deaths of three of his sons because he feared that they would take his place—take his power. Killing others didn’t seem to weigh on his conscience.

In fact, Herod was so concerned that upon his death that no one would mourn him, he had ordered the deaths of several prominent men in his kingdom upon his death, so that there would be mourners in the city!

Dear Heavenly Father, Let us not be like Herod, who let his fear, ambition, and hate rule his life. May we be like the Magi and worship Jesus, the “newborn King.”

- Shirley Buuck

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

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