Sermons

Summary: A look at Herod and the leaders of the Temple.

I WAS JUST DOING MY JOB

MATT 2:3-8

HELLO, MY NAME IS YOUSEL; I AM A SCRIBE, WELCOME TO JERUSALEM. THE CITY YOU ARE ASKING ABOUT, BETHLEHEM IS ABOUT 7 MILES SOUTH WEST OF HERE. I REMEMBER THE DAY THAT THE STORY HAPPENED THAT YOU ARE ASKING ABOUT. THE DAY THOSE KINGS CAME. WOW! WHAT A DAY THAT WAS, I WAS HERE IN THE TEMPLE THAT DAY, IN FACT I WAS WORKING IN THE DIVISION THAT CAME UP WITH THE ANSWER THAT HEROD ASKED. WHERE IS THE MESSIAH SUPPOSED TO BE BORN? NOW TO YOU, I SUPPOSE, THAT SOUNDS LIKE AN INTERESTING QUESTION, ONE THAT MIGHT HAVE EXCITED US, BUT YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME THAT I OR ANY OF THE OTHER SCRIBES HAVE BEEN ASKED THAT QUESTION. IN FACT, WE HAVE HEARD THE QUESTION SO MUCH, WE CAN RECITE THE ANSWER BY HEART. AFTER ALL, ANY GOOD JEW KNOWS WHAT THE PROFIT MICAH SAYS, BUT YOU, BETHLEHEM, IN THE LAND OF JUDAH, ARE BY NO MEANS LEAST AMONG THE RULERS OF JUDAH; FOR OUT OF YOU WILL COME A RULER WHO WILL BE THE SHEPHERD OF MY PEOPLE ISRAEL. WE ALL KNOW THIS; ACTUALLY, I AM SURE THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW MANY TIMES WE MUST ANSWER THIS QUESTION BECAUSE IT SEEMS AS IF THERE ARE SO MANY PEOPLE WHO SEEM TO BE CLAIMING THAT THEY ARE THE MESSIAH. BUT SOMEHOW EVERYTHING WAS DIFFERENT THE DAY THOSE KINGS CAME INTO TOWN. HOWEVER, YOU KNOW, I AM GETTING AHEAD OF MYSELF I THINK FIRST WE SHOULD SET THE SCENE. FIRST, I SHOULD TELL YOU WHO THE MAJOR PLAYERS ARE. THE FIRST PERSON IS KING HEROD THE GREAT. HEROD IS WHAT IS KNOWN AS AN IDUMEAN, WHICH MEANT THAT HE WAS RACIALLY IMPURE, AND NOT A JEW, AND YET HE CALLED HIMSELF THE KING OF THE JEWS. HEROD IS A VERY COMPLEXED CHARACTER. HE MARRIED A JEWISH HASMONEAN WOMAN NAMED MARIAMNE TO MAKE HIMSELF MORE ACCEPTABLE TO US JEWS, BUT YET WE REALLY DIDN’T EVER TRUST HIM. HEROD ALSO APPOINTED MARIAMNE’S BROTHER AS THE HIGH PRIEST TO TRY TO APPEASE US BUT THAT DIDN’T WORK EITHER. HOWEVER, ULTIMATELY HEROD HAD BOTH HIS WIFE AND HER BROTHER KILLED SO THAT DIDN’T ADD MUCH TRUST. HEROD DID EXPAND AND START BUILDING US A NICE NEW TEMPLE TO WORSHIP AND HONOR OUR GOD. IN ADDITION, WHEN TIMES GOT ROUGH, HEROD RETURNED SOME OF THE TAXES IMPOSED ON US AND ALSO TOOK SOME OF THE GOLD FROM STATUES THAT WERE IN HIS POSSESSION TO BUY FOOD FOR THE PEOPLE. HEROD ALSO BUILT RACE TRACKS, THEATRES, AND OTHER STRUCTURES TO HELP KEEP US ENTERTAINED. SO THERE WAS A GOOD SIDE TO HEROD AND AT TIMES, HE REALLY SEEMED TO TRY TO INGRATIATE HIMSELF TO US.

HOWEVER, THERE WAS ALSO A VERY BLOOD THIRSTY SIDE TO HIM. HEROD WAS EXTREMELY JEALOUS OF ANYONE WHO WAS MORE POPULAR THAN HE WAS, AND UNFORTUNATELY, SINCE HE WAS AN IDUMEAN, HE WAS ALWAYS ONE OF THE LEAST POPULAR PEOPLE AROUND. WHEN SOMEONE BECAME MORE POPULAR THAN HEROD, THEY WERE IMMEDIATELY PUT TO DEATH. THIS INCLUDED THREE OF HIS SONS, HIS BROTHER-IN-LAW WHO HE MADE HIGH PRIEST, HIS WIFE MARIAMNE, A NUMBER OF THE PRIESTS OF THE TEMPLE, AND MANY OTHERS. WHEN HEROD WAS SICK AND HE KNEW HE WAS ABOUT TO DIE, HE HAD A NUMBER OF THE DISTINGUISHED CITIZENS OF JERUSALEM ARRESTED AND GAVE THE ORDER THAT WHEN HE DIED THEY WERE TO BE KILLED. HEROD DID THIS BECAUSE HE KNEW THAT WHEN HE DIED THERE WAS GOING TO BE NO MOURNING AT ALL. IN FACT, WHEN HE DIED, THERE WOULD PROBABLY HAVE BEEN A CELEBRATION SO HE HAD THESE OTHER PEOPLE KILLED TO ASSURE THAT THERE WOULD BE MOURNING IN JERUSALEM THE DAY HE DIED IT DIDN’T MATTER THAT IS WASN’T FOR HIM.

SO SEEING THE PERSONALITY OF HEROD, DOES ANYONE WONDER WHY IT SAID THAT WHEN THE KINGS FROM THE EAST ARRIVED IN JERUSALEM ASKING WHERE IS HE WHO HAS BEEN BORN THE KING OF THE JEWS, HEROD AND ALL JERUSALEM WAS TROUBLED. OH BOY WERE THEY TROUBLED! HERE IS THIS KING WHO IS TOTALLY PARANOID, TOTALLY INSECURE, TOTALLY UNSTABLE, AND TOTALLY JEALOUS OF ANYONE WHO SEEMS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HIM HEARING THAT SOMEONE HAD BEEN BORN KING OF THE JEWS! HEROD WAS FREAKING OUT AND EVERYONE ELSE WAS WORRIED ABOUT WHAT HE WOULD DO NEXT, AFTER ALL, HE HAD A HISTORY.

SO HEROD SUMMONED A GROUP OF LEARNED PEOPLE WHO SHOULD KNOW THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION WHERE WAS THE MESSIAH TO BE BORN. NOW IF ALL OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE SUMMONED WERE ON ONE PAGE MAYBE WE COULD HAVE COME UP WITH SOME SORT OF ANSWER THAT WOULD CALM HIM, BUT THE GROUP SUMMONED HAD MULTIPLE PROBLEMS OF THEIR OWN. SO ADDING TO THE SCENE OF THE UNSTABLE KING WE HAD THE WARRING FACTIONS OF THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND SCRIBES. LET ME TELL YOU WHY THESE GROUPS DID NOT GET ALONG.

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