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March 21, 2002

Home & Herod

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Home again! On Friday, I drove about five hours north to Leduc. Our church order requires each church to be visited by a minister and an elder (or by two ministers) at least once every couple of years; the visitors inquire about how the officebearers are doing their work and about the congregation’s health. If requested, they also sometimes meet with members of the congregation. Lethbridge was appointed to visit Leduc, though in this case Leduc requested two ministers. Ed Marcusse, the pastor of Bethel United Reformed Church in Calgary made the visit with me.

I spent Friday night with Mike Mazereeuw, a recently married friend in Edmonton, who took me book shopping on Saturday morning. Book Outlet sells seconded books, books that haven’t sold in other book stores, at discounted prices. I got quite a haul before setting out for Grande Prairie, another five hours northwest of Edmonton. I preached there Sunday and visited a number of friends, including Bill DeJong and Tim Gallant.

On Monday, I drove south as far as Red Deer, where I stayed overnight with my parents before heading to Lethbridge on Tuesday.

This week, I’m working on a sermon on Luke 23:1-12. I’ve discovered that most commentaries do very little with Jesus’ trial before Herod. Why was Jesus tried not only by Pilate but also by Herod? Why was that trial part of God’s plan? How did it contribute to Jesus’ work? Only Luke tells us about it. Why does he mention it? How does it fit with the rest of what he’s saying? Most commentators, it seems, don’t ever ask those questions. They simply say what happened (Jesus was sent to Herod, etc.) without ever digging into the significance of it.

My thoughts? Well, the text presents Herod as a king of the Jews from Galilee who is confronting (and being confronted by) Jesus, the king of the Jews from Galilee. That has to be significant! Acts 4 also links this trial and the resulting friendship between Pilate and Herod with Isaiah 53 (God’s holy servant) and with Psalm 2. The whole world, including the Jewish king Herod, is united against God’s anointed king.

Add to that the fact that Herod, though a Jew now, is of Edomite background and is now joining the world power (Rome, this time) in attacking the true Israel in the person of Israel’s representative king. In their zeal to get rid of Jesus, the Jewish leaders have aligned themselves with Pilate, the representative of Rome, the foreign ruler over God’s people, and with Herod, the Edomite-turned-king-of-the-Jews, and they’ve become spiritual Edomites themselves, Esaus jealous of Jacob and out for his blood.

The glorious thing is that precisely by being rejected by His people and mocked by Herod, Jesus is entering into His victory. The nations rage, but God will set His king on His throne and give Him a rod of iron.with which to judge the nations. Don’t mistake His suffering for failure! Kiss the Son lest He be angry and you perish.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately.

Posted by John Barach @ 12:18 am | Discuss (0)

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