by BJ Rudge, Ph.D.
King Herod was famous for the many buildings he constructed, and for his insatiable desire for power. He would go to any length eliminating threats to his kingdom. He even had several family members, including his wife Mariamne, executed. Consequently, the Roman emperor Augustus reportedly said, “It is better to be Herod’s pig than son” (Macrobius, Saturnalia, 2:4:11) – the implication being that, since Herod was a Jew, he did not eat pork and his pig would be safe.
Herod’s deceptive and violent reaction should come as no surprise then, following the wise men’s visit to Jerusalem in search of the newborn King of the Jews. Only Herod could be the King of the Jews, so in response to the birth of Jesus, he ordered the slaughter of all boys two years old and under (Matthew 2:16-18).
The same spirit that lived in Herod is alive today in those who oppose the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have declared an outright war to eradicate the Christian faith.
Despite the battles raging around us, take comfort in knowing that our God is in control. His plans can never be thwarted, and although it may seem for a time that the enemy is winning, the final outcome of the war has already been decided (Revelation 19). Until that day of rejoicing, let us stand against this spirit of Herod by living authentic lives, being transformed by the power of God’s Spirit and demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ – even to the very ones who assault and attack His name.
Just as the spirit of Herod could not silence Jesus back then, it will never silence the true message of Christmas. Let us share and live out this message everyday in a world that desperately needs to hear it:
Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:10-11).