Summary: A sermon that shows all of us have a little King Herod in us, but Christ brings a sword to put that nature to death so a new nature can rise up.
To many of us, we are the center of our own universe, aren’t we? To many of us, we are the only one who counts. And, too many of us think that God is our co-pilot. Let me start by saying that if God is your co-pilot, you had better change places with Him as quickly as you can.
In MATTHEW 10:34-35, Jesus said,
‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’
The picture that has been painted of Christmas is the warm scene of a wonderful baby – the Prince of Peace – lying in a manger, surrounded by a glow of love and people who were happy and rejoicing. That picture makes us feel comfortable with the Lord. And, that is fine, but too many Christians stay there. They always look at Jesus as that ‘nice little Christ-baby’ who was born in Bethlehem those many years ago. Too many Christians do not get past that and look at what Jesus did to the earth.
Jesus did not come to bring peace. He came with a sword. When Jesus came, death would follow. Not long after Jesus was born, we see the pure and raw evidence of the sword arriving, don’t we?
There are several lessons to be learned from seeing the Christmas Story, not as it has been painted, but in its true light.
1. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE HEAD
There is nothing in the world that can survive properly with two heads. Whether it is a company, a marriage, or even an animal, there can only be one head. Many churches fall into this trap, too. Many pastors, think they run the church. Too many elders think they are the ones who have the final say-so in the church. In reality, the pastors and elders have jobs in the church, but they do not run the church. The one and only true head of the church is Christ. And Christ did not want any man to be the head, so he allowed us to have organization to His church. We utilize the board of directors to be the local head of the church.
When anyone tries to upset that natural order of things, problems will soon occur. As soon as any pastor or elder starts thinking that they are the one who is holding everything together and they are the one who has the final decree, they should step out of leadership and let God start controlling things through the board of directors again. See, when we start thinking and acting like we are the center, we start having the same kind of evil thoughts that a man by the name of Herod had. Let’s talk about him.
There are several Herods mentioned in the Bible, and all of them are hateful scoundrels, but this Herod is the daddy of them all. H was known as Herod the Great. I believe he is the one who came up with that name. This man was called “king of the Jews” but he wasn’t even a Jew. He was an Edomite, who was promoted to the position by the Romans after he stopped a rebellion led by Hezekiah, and had all of them executed without any trials. The Jews hated him because he was cruel and vicious.
Once Herod was promoted to king, his need for absolute power became worse. He had 45 of his ‘competitors’ murdered. He had his son-in-law drowned; his brother-in-law and his brother-in-laws wife, and their sons killed; and just five days before his own death, Herod even had his nephew killed. Herod had only one purpose in life and that was to be the only king of the Jews.
Who does that sound like in modern times? Doesn’t it sound a lot like Saddam Hussein? Whenever he thought somebody was going to give him strife, he had them killed very brutally. Just like Herod, and many others throughout history, Saddam wanted everyone to know that there was no other but him. See, that is what happens when we try to make God our co-pilot. When we try to lead God, we end up trying to take His place. The problem is that we can’t take His place. There can only be one head, and that head is not us.
We wonder how people can be so evil, but the answer should not surprise us. We are merely men, yet we too often, try to be God. We have a desire for power and in some people, it is just a lot more obvious. In Herod, as with all dictators, there is absolutely no compromise; it is all or nothing. Herod had to be the only king.