September 28, 2018


September 28, 2018


Acts 12:20-25
This weekend’s reading: Genesis 22:1-19


Herod was a persecutor of the followers of Jesus.  He executed James, the brother of Jesus.  He imprisoned Peter.  Because Peter was popular Herod was worried a riot might ensue if Peter was executed.  So, he conveniently left town. 

“Then Herod went from Judea to Caesarea and stayed there. He had been quarreling with the people of Tyre and Sidon; they now joined together and sought an audience with him. After securing the support of Blastus, a trusted personal servant of the king, they asked for peace, because they depended on the king’s country for their food supply. On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died. But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.”

Josephus, the Jewish historian, recorded that on this occasion, the people hailed Herod as a god, and confirmed the death of Herod.  “Upon this, the king did neither rebuke them nor reject their impious flattery… A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner… He was carried into the palace… and when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life.” (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 19, Chapter 8)

Hurrah!  Ding, Dong, the witch is dead!  It feels so good when the bad guy gets his comeuppance!  Maybe it is the glimpse of justice that we think we see!

“What makes the temptation of power so seemingly irresistible? Maybe it is that power offers an easy substitute for the hard task of love. It seems easier to be God than to love God, easier to control people than to love people, easier to own life than to love life.” [In The Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen]


  • What prayer can your offer for the persecuted disciples of Jesus?
  • What prayer can you offer for the Herods of this world?


  • Come up with two or three villains from the movies.
  • How did the hero conquer them?  How did you feel when the hero won? Why?


Lord, you tell us we must pray for our enemies.  I can’t remember the last time I did that.  Because I believe in the power of your Word, I ask you to soften their hearts.  I ask for a beam of light that can break through to them.  Truthfully, I don’t know enough about their circumstances to ask anything more specific.  What I can ask is that you open my heart when I encounter someone I have called ‘the enemy’ and that your light shines in and through me. Don’t leave us in the dark!  Amen.