Summary: A Christmas Sermon. Herod was invaded by another King and was conquered. This sermon is an in depth look at the wicked king vs. the King of Kings.
Two Kings Clash
Has anyone ever heard Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carole? The story of scrooge and his transformation. At one point Scrooge cared less for the holidays. Humbug was his attitude. Today we will discuss a man who hated Christmas more than scrooge, the grinch, or anyone else. This man tried to kill Christmas.
This man is no made up character in a story. He really lived in history and we have several recourses telling his story. His name is Herod the great. We can read about him in Matthew 2 –
His family had connections and he knew how to politic his way right up. At the age of 25 Herod was named the governor of Galilee. The Romans were hoping Herod could control the Jews. He was half Jew, yet never truly accepted by full blooded Jews.
In 40 B.C. the roman senate named him ‘king of the Jews’. It was a title the Jews hated because he was never religious. Herod was truly evil. His god was himself. There are 4 things about him we need to recognize:
1. Preoccupation with Power.
Herod was addicted to power. If power was a drink, he was passed out on the floor with it. Power has been described as the ultimate human obsession. Power is the ability to control. That is what lucifer wanted in heaven. That is what nimrod wanted in Babylon. That is what Pharaoh wanted in Egypt. That is what Lot wanted in Sodom. That is what people want in business, in society, in politics, in churches. God is the one who promotes and demotes.
Herod was cruel, he was crafty. When put into power he was asked to stop several bands of thieves and bandits who terrorized the countryside. He used diplomacy and bloodshed to make peace.
He made relationships and connections with other powerful people so he could do what he wanted, have what he wanted.
He had distrust for anyone who would attempt to take his throne. Because of this, he was known as a cruel man. Over the years he killed many, including his brother-in-law, his mother-in-law, 2 of his sons, and even his wife. He was a killer. His nature was to kill. He murdered for fun, he killed to stay in power. Life meant nothing to him. He was described as barbaric, a maniac. Preoccupation with Power.
2. Preoccupation with Possessions.
Hared wanted it all. He wanted everything a roman Cesar had. He built 7 palaces and 7 theaters. One of these seated 9,500 people. He built stadiums for circuses and sporting events. The largest seated 300,000 fans. He even built a new temple for the Jews.
3. Preoccupation with prestige.
Herod loved to make a lasting impression. He built entire cities with all the bells and whistles and named them after his superiors. He was a smooth talker and had the ability to win people over to himself. Several of his 10 marriages were political. He even married his worst enemy’s daughter to gain prestige.
Preoccupation with paranoia.
Mistrust, suspicion, fear was how he lived everyday. His father was poisoned. When he became king, he built 10 emergency fortresses, all heavenly armed and well provisioned. He created a network of spies. Anyone with a plot against him was rooted out and killed. He ruled 40 years – until he butted heads with another king – one who was also called the King of the Jews. – Jesus
Now looking at the time of his life we read about in Matthew 2, we see a weak king, dying of a disease. Covered with open sores, shaking with pain, loosing his mind. One day he is informed visitors have arrived from the east.
Strange men with strange questions. The Wise men.
Vs 2. Herod was supposed to be king of the Jews, but he wasn’t born king. He had to fight and kill to get on his throne. What were they talking about? Why didn’t his spies know anything?
Vs 3 – (troubled – shaken violently). He had all his enemies conquered. His kingdom was established. He was supposed to die in peace and victory. Then these strangers come with their strange questions. No time to rest now. One more person to kill. No wonder it says all Jerusalem was shaken with him. They didn’t know what this psycho would do next.
Vs 5-6 he calls in the scribes, asks them about prophecies that might tell more about this event. When Herod hears this, he is furious, but crafty. He asks the wise men in vs. 7,8 –
Vs 9-11 Off they went, and the star that has led them over 800 miles leads them to the exact house where the real King is. When they found Jesus, they bowed, worshipped, and gave gifts.