History often hails King Herod I as “Herod the Great” because he was a great builder. But as Matthew makes clear, Herod was not a great man.
Imagine you’ve worked all your life to climb the ladder of success and come out on top. You’ve carefully crafted your connections, learned the rules of the game, and made sacrifice after sacrifice to get what you want. While many did little to add value, you built, and built, and built. Surely after years of success, you’ve earned the right to be the boss. So, when you hear that Management insists on putting someone new above you, you want to know: why should you submit to Him? As far as you’re concerned, He’ll only get in your way.
Friends, Herod was determined to be king. He continually cultivated contacts in Rome so that the power of the world would make him “King of the Jews.” Once king, he built aqueducts and amphitheaters, palaces and fortresses, cities and ports. He rebuilt the Temple of Jerusalem and built pagan temples elsewhere. He also murdered anyone he perceived as a threat to his rule, including one of his wives and three of his sons. Christ was a threat too. When Herod heard that God’s own anointed “King of the Jews” had been born, he made his choice. He would murder the Messiah rather than submit his kingship to Him.