The book “Songs of the Deliverer” tells the story of Christ re-cast in modern day. The book is a work of fiction but the stories and characters are based on the Gospels of the New Testament. These Reflections are written to highlight the Biblical pericopes.
Referenced in the Prelude
Herod governed the land of Judea for 37 years. He was known as the “Kings of the Jews.” Herod’s reign would be dominated by one theme: inconceivable brutality.
Herod was tyrannical in wielding his power. He employed his police force to spy on the people and abduct those he felt were inciting protests against his governance. Worse yet was his ruthlessness with those he determined to be enemies. He ordered the assassination of hundreds of his predecessors and their staffs so as to eliminate any ongoing challenge to his authority. His murderous depravity extended to his own family. Herod ordered his henchmen to kill his brother-in-law. Later, he had his wife executed. Then, he had three of his sons murdered. It was said that it was “better to be Herod’s pig than his son.”
In the last years of his life, Herod became even more paranoid about preserving his power. He heard the people talk about the prophecy of a coming king, “the Lord will send a sign, a young woman is with child and shall bear a son.” He heard about the magi who were in pursuit of this holy one. He thought he could conspire with them to find this child-king but the magi outwitted him. Having extinguished all previous threats to his throne, even by killing his own children, he did not hesitate to combat this threat. He devised his plan (Matthew 2:16):
“When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi.”
Herod’s marauders set out to kill every young child in Bethlehem in the massacre of the innocents to ensure they killed the one child divined to be king of all. But, instructed by a dream, Joseph had secretly taken Mary, and their baby out of Bethlehem and headed safely to Egypt. Jesus had escaped Herod’s persecution. When Herod died, Joseph returned his family to Nazareth where Jesus was raised.
Upon Herod’s death, a son who had survived his father’s abuse, was named his successor. Herod Antipas would go on to rule for 42 years. During his reign, he would encounter John the Baptist who preached of preparing the way for one greater to follow. Herod Antipas would have him beheaded in exchange for a dance from a fetching maiden. Later, he would meet the one of whom the Baptist spoke: Jesus Christ. It was Herod who extradited Jesus to the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, for trial. Pilate sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion and wrote mockingly on his cross, “King of the Jews.”
The persecution of Jesus by Herod was finally accomplished.
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