Summary: Herod was a wicked man and an evil king. But you don't have to kill baby Jesus to end up in hell. You just have to deny him.
Herod - How Deniers Find Jesus
Today’s message takes a somber tone. This is our third message on the subject of Finding Jesus. Today, we look at Herod who was seeking Jesus but for the wrong reason. As we know, Herod was seeking Jesus to kill him. He demonstrates for us an important theological truth taught in both Old and New Testaments- One day everyone will encounter the Lord. Those who come to him as Savior will never meet him as Judge. But all who reject him will ultimately meet him. Sadly, they will meet him as their Judge at the Great White Throne, at which point the offer of salvation will have passed.
“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10–11, NIV)
Life’s most important decision is the decision that you make regarding Jesus Christ. One day your life will be over and it will be forever too late. This week we saw the reality of just how brief and unpredictable life can be. Marie Gemmell and her two sons, 3-year-old Cole and 1-month-old Devin died in their home when a private jet fell from the sky in Gaithersburg Md. The crash was just a few miles away from the home of Jeff and Christie Hickman.
They died of an unseen danger.
Compare these tragic deaths with the death of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. On the night of Jackie Kennedy Onassis' death, her family gathered at her bedside. The next morning, John, dressed in an impeccably tailored navy-blue suit, emerged from the lobby of 1040 Fifth Avenue. "Last night, at around ten-fifteen, my mother passed on," he said. "She was surrounded by her friends and family and her books and the people and things that she loved. And she did it in her own way, and on her own terms, and we all feel lucky for that, and now she's in God's hands." Published: "Jackie's Last Days" in READER'S DIGEST, May 2004, p. 181
But think about those words from a grief torn son. Did Jacquie O really die on her own terms? She was only 64 years old. She died of lymphoma - an unwelcome invader that pre-maturely snuffed out her life. No one dies on their own terms! If we had our own terms we would live forever free of pain an suffering!
And so we read these words regarding Herod.
“But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.”” (Matthew 2:19–20, ESV)
The reality is that Herod died. From a theological point of view, Herod still has not met Jesus, although he knew the moment he died that he was separated from God. Herod will not meet Jesus until the Great White Throne Judgement described in Revelation 20. Then, Jesus will be the Judge who will sentence Herod and all who have rejected Christ.
When Will you Find Jesus?
The greatest tragedy you can every possibly experience is the tragedy of waking up in hell, separated from God and facing eternal judgment for your sin.
“And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27, ESV)
“and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side.” (Luke 16:23, ESV)
Our sermon series: FINDING JESUS
Herod was one of the people in the Christmas story who was LOOKING for JESUS.
Herod was SEEKING JESUS, but he only wanted to Kill him.
Did Herod ever find Jesus?
We have to turn to what the BIBLE says about Judgment to answer this question.
“WHEN HEROD DIED”
Herod did not find Jesus before he died.
His attempted deception of the wise men failed.
His murderous attempt to kill Jesus failed.
He died before Jesus began his earthly ministry.
Why did Herod fail to find Jesus when Simeon, Anna, the Shepherds and Wise Men all found him?
You Can’t Find Jesus if you Blame God for your Past.
Herod’s past was deeply troubled. He ruled at the end of the Inter-Testament period which was marked by conflict and wars. 165 BC began the Maccabeean Reign, also referred to by their family name, the Hasmonian Period.
During this 160 year time frame, there were THREE FORCES at work in the politics and governance of Israel:
1. The Hasmonian Dynasty. The historical name for the MACCABEES. Mattathias’s sons were killed in battle, with the exception of Simon, who became the first Hasmonian Ruler. His son John Hyrcanus greatly expanded Israel’s control including control of EDOM. The Edomites were forced to convert Judaism.