A Point Well Made

LA Sept 14 050-LR

In the last section you will recall that Peter had been arrested by Herod, who wanted to kill him to gain favor with influential Jews in Jerusalem, but God had rescued Peter from jail, and an angry Herod had executed his guards. Yep, old Herod was going to make a spectacle of murdering Christians, but God had other ideas, and in the end, He would make a spectacle of old Herod instead.

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.

Acts 12:19b-20

After his misadventure in Jerusalem, Herod returns to his palace in Caesarea and regular palace business. Luke has set the stage for the big event when everyone would come together for their peace talks…

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. (12:21-23)

For Herod, it would seem that his big speech was a success, but it was all downhill after that. As is usually the case with carefully chosen political crowds, the audience reaction was just a tad over the top: “This is the voice of a god, not of a man.” As an old political hand, I wonder if that reaction had been scripted in advance… In any case, God it seems, had just about done with old Herod, and I’m sure Herod was the talk of the town when those worms had their fill of him. Clearly no man is going to prevent God from accomplishing His purpose, and God surely highlighted this point on that memorable occasion. Yet Luke wasn’t quite finished with his remarks:

But the word of God continued to spread and flourish. (12:24)

I have no doubt that after he had begun to persecute Christians and murdered James with Peter imprisoned awaiting his fate, Herod looked very formidable indeed to the Christians of Jerusalem huddled together behind their locked doors praying for a miracle. But in spite of Herod’s efforts and meddling, God was on the offensive, and Herod was completely undone, and the cause of Christ was flourishing.

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About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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14 Responses to A Point Well Made

  1. I have to admit, this is one of those tales that bothers me. Herod, this one being Antipas, died, according to secular records, in exile, charged with conspiracy to assassinate Caligula. In 39AD his territory was turned over to his nephew Agrippa, who brought the charges against him.

  2. I love this story. The Christians did not pray for courage. That would mean keeping on even if they were afraid. They prayed for boldness ~ not to be afraid.

  3. Mel Wild says:

    As Modern Theologian commented, it is a very difficult passage that has caused much speculation. Both in what actually happened and what it says about God (seems God went Old Testament on him). Josephus records the same event and said that Herod died of a bowel disease five days later. That’s likely what actually happened. But why God picked people like Herod (and Ananias and Sapphira) for these unusual Old-Testament-like judgments is beyond my paygrade. 🙂

    One thing we can know for certain about this event…Herod was not “all that!”

  4. gaustin00 says:

    For the record, Dr. Constable says this Herod was not Antipas but Agrippa: “Herod the king” was Herod Agrippa I whom the Roman emperor Gaius appointed king over Palestine in A.D. 37. He ruled Judea for three years, A.D. 41-44[521] (cf. v. 23), and moved his headquarters to Jerusalem. Herod Agrippa I had Jewish blood in his veins and consistently sought to maintain favor with and the support of the Jews over whom he ruled, which he did effectively.[522] As the Christian Jews became increasingly offensive to their racial brethren (cf. 11:18), Herod took advantage of an opportunity to please his subjects by mistreating some believers and by executing the Apostle James, the brother of John (cf. Matt. 20:23 it is hard keeping those Herods straight…I for sure can’t …but if you go to Lumina.bible.org and read the commentary by Dr. Constable you will see what he says.

    • Don Merritt says:

      That you for sharing this info, and everyone is free to consider the various views on this and other cases where there is a variance of opinion. When I taught Seminary students, we got into this sort of thing all the time, and I came to realize, that while it is important academically to question and investigate such matters… and there are many like this… they tend to take our eyes off the ball, cause debates and disputes based upon this or that inference, since we can only infer the timeline anyway. Thus, I’ve left that out entirely in this, and several other posts and tried to focus attention on the application instead. Of course, this approach is maddening to some 🙂 but a godsend for others…

      Thanks again for the research and info, which no doubt will be helpful for many!

  5. Lift Up says:

    Great stuff! Thanks for sharing!

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