Summary: No character is in the Bible by mistake - there are many things we can learn from the life of Herod - often times we have people in the Bible to show us how not to behave...

Christmas Characters #5 – Herod - 16th December 2007 pm

Matthew 2:1-18

When the guiding star had brought the wise men Judea, the wise men headed straight for Jerusalem, the most likely place for a king to be born. Their question startled the city, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” – not a prince but a King! Herod’s appointment on the throne by the Roman Emperor was ignored in Heaven.

The words “Born King” must have sent shivers down Herod’s spine. You see, he was sitting on the throne of David, and he had no right to. He was not a descendant of David. The lineal heir to the throne was a humble village carpenter, and an Edomite was sitting on the throne. Herod was an Edomite, a descendant of Esau/Ishmael – Genesis 28:8-9 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father; [9] Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.

The long struggle between Esau and Jacob was about to come to a head as the serpent’s brood of the Edomite Herod’s set themselves against the Lord’s anointed one.

No man or woman was safe while Herod reigned. One by one he murdered his rivals. He murdered his wife’s brother because he was popular with the Jews. He murdered Mariamne, the beautiful Maccabean princess he had married, because ehe was suspicious of her, and he murdered both her sons. He murdered his own son and heir.

Herod hacked his way through life, slaughtering six to eight thousand of the best people in his realm. Caesar Augustus is reported to have cynically said, “I’d sooner be Herod’s swine than Herod’s son.”

I. Herod was Troubled (Conviction)

Verse 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

No wonder all Jerusalem was troubled. If Herod heard the news about this newborn King, the Jews knew how Herod would react. Blood would be shed before long. There would be yet another killing spree.

I wonder what went through Herod’s mind when the wise men came. I wonder if the mention of a star by the wise men had triggered a verse of Scripture in his mind?

Numbers 24:17-18 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth. [18] And Edom shall be a possession, Seir also shall be a possession for his enemies; and Israel shall do valiantly.

I wonder if Herod knew that his time was up. Did he know deep down that this day would come?

Herod was troubled because God’s Word pierced his heart. Have you ever been there? You know God is speaking to you. You think the preacher’s been spying on you – how does he know so much about me???

It’s not the preacher it’s the Spirit of God convicting you… Conviction is a good thing.. It’s how we react to the conviction..

Verses 4-6

Herod wastes no time, he summoned all the chief priests and scibes and asks a theological question. In effect he said, “Okay, you people are expecting this Messiah – Where does the Scripture say He’ll be born?”

The answer to that question would enable him to know where to start looking for this unwanted King. He also questioned the wise men as to when the star first appeared. Based on their response, Herod would be able to know how far back he would need to go. He would not feel safe as long as anyone was alive who was born between the time the star first appeared and the time the magi showed up in Jerusalem.

Herod’s counsellors had no trouble telling him where to look for this King. According to Micah 5:2, He was to be born in Bethlehem.

II. Herod did not follow God (Disobedient)– Verses 7-8

Once Herod knew where to look for this rival, he resorted to guile. He had questioned the magi “diligently” (or accurately / exactly) and now he tells them to search “diligently” as they continued on their journey.

Herod urges the wise men to return to him and tell him the results of the search.

Why didn’t Herod obey God’s Word and go and worship Christ?

It’s the same when we know we are to obey God’s Word, and we don’t.. James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Did the wise men go to Bethlehem? We know that they did not arrive at the stable as Verse 11 tells us that it was a house and the Greek word for young child is pahee-dee’-on = infant

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