Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Background on Herod

On the night that the Lord Jesus was born, Herod the Great ruled all of Palestine.

Herod the Great was the one the wise men came to asking about the baby and the star.

Herod the Great was the one who ordered the slaughter of all the baby boys in Bethlehem. It was no big deal to him. He had numerous sons and daughters of his own, by ten wives, and he killed them, too, when he thought they were getting in his way.

When Herod the great died He divided Judea into three portions and, with Rome’s permission, divvied these portions out among three of his surviving sons:

--> Archelaus got Judea and Samaria;

--> Philip got Trachonitis and Ituraea;

--> and Herod Antipas got Galilee and Peraea.

--> A fourth son, named Herod Philip, received money as his portion and lived in Rome.

It was at this time that an angel came to Joseph and told him it was safe to move back to Nazareth.

The year before John the Baptist was beheaded Herod Antipas went to Rome to visit his brother, Herod Philip and began to admire Philip’s wife, Herodias.

We’re going to see a biblical principle played out in what happened next.
Sin begins with what is cherished in the heart
The Bible says that we are tempted by our own desires that drag us off and trap us. Our desires make us sin, and when sin is finished with us, it leaves us dead [James 1:14-15] Herod and Herodias had a lifestyle of indulging their sinful desires. Their sin was full blown, but we all have sin to deal with, and there are lessons to be learned here from their bad example.

Who knows who seduced who, but Herod and Herodias ended up having an affair, and Herod brought her and her teenaged daughter Salome back with him to Galilee.

One problem.

Herod was already married to a princess whose father ruled Petra, right next door to Palestine. Herod divorced this wife to get rid of her and sent her back to Petra so he could move Herodias into his palace.

John the Baptist boldly denounced what Herod and Herodias had done, and that made them mad.
* How do you respond to someone who has just pointed out sin in your life?
* Do you get mad?
* Do you want to get them back?

For the next ten months Herodias nursed a grudge against John the Baptist and wanted to kill him. The only person standing in her way was her new husband.

See, Herod liked to listen to John even though what John said often puzzled and even sometimes offended him.

- And he was afraid of John since he knew that the Baptist was a righteous and holy man,
- and he was afraid of what the people might do if John were killed, since the people considered the Baptist a prophet.

So Herod protected John.

He imprisoned him in one of his palace fortresses, but he let John’s disciples have free access to minister to John.

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