Here are a few lines from Ashley’s sermon on the first Sunday of Christmas. He was reflecting on why we need to talk about Herod (and especially at Christmas).
The biblical story is that the world is in the grip of an evil that is bigger than just Herod or Hitler (or any other tyrant). But also that this evil has infected every one of us.
It is too easy to blame all the ills of the world on the obvious candidates and overlook how complicit we all are in one way or another.
And that’s why we need to talk about Herod.
Because what motivated Herod – fear, ambition, lust for power, desire for security, greed, envy – in combination, to one degree or another; all these things resist the coming of Jesus; and all these things are at work in us too.
When the Bible says that the world is in the grip of evil powers, or principalities and powers, and other forces resistant to God, it does not mean that human beings are powerless… on the contrary, it is in and through human beings, selfish, deceitful, ambitious, greedy, fearful, insecure, and so on, that these powers are most at work.
I might not have done what Herod did, but I am deluded if I think that I am not capable of doing what Herod did. Or at the very least, I am more than capable of letting Herod get on with it, while I turn a blind eye or keep my head down and say it’s not my problem.
[Reflecting on Matthew 2.1-23; Image attribution: Sweet Publishing / FreeBibleimages.org]