“When Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, the one I beheaded, has been raised.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)
What lessons do you draw from a story that doesn’t make any sense? Well, not many usually. But what if that story happens to be in the Bible? In that case it feels like you should get something from it. After all, why would God have included it in the Scriptures if not to teach us something? That’s the whole point of 2 Timothy 3:16, right? Well, yes, but as Andy Stanly likes to say, “All Scripture is equally inspired, but not all Scripture is equally applicable or relevant to every stage of life.” Sometimes a story is just a good story for where we are. Let’s talk about one Mark includes here.
Christmas is done. We’ve made it. But what now? The days leading up to Christmas, while often busy, are also joy-filled in a way many other times of the year aren’t. But once we get to the other side of Christmas, how do we keep from running smack into the emotional letdown we so often feel? This week and next as we get started on a brand new year, a brand new decade, we’re going to talk about how to do just that in a short run series called, After Christmas. Thanks for reading.
So here we are on the other side of the big day. Did anybody wake up Thursday morning and think, “Now what?” I mean, Wednesday we were all like, “Ho, ho, ho!” But Thursday? It was perhaps more like, “Oh, oh, oh…” There’s just something about the day after a big holiday like Christmas that feels like a bit of a letdown, isn’t there?
This past Sunday morning we wrapped up our series, Bible Stories to Make You Squirm, by looking at another doozy. When Jesus entered the world as a baby and King Herod found out about it, he murdered all the boys two years and under in Bethlehem. What we are supposed to do with this and what it means for us is what we talk about here. Keep reading to learn more.
Also, this week I am going to make some changes to my posting schedule. Producing two posts, three days a week isn’t such a big deal for me on the writing side, but as someone who reads other blogs, I know that trying to read two posts on any given day is a lot. You’ve hung in here with me as I keep learning how to do this better over the last couple of years, and I am supremely grateful. Going forward, I am going to move to five weekly posts–one each day, Monday through Friday, all at 8:00 am. Mondays will be the previous day’s sermon or a Digging in Deeper post if I’ve had the weekend off. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be the usual Morning Musings. Wednesdays and Fridays will be Digging in Deeper posts (usually just a bit longer than the Morning Musings or else a chance to go a little deeper into a conversation we have started on Tuesday or Thursday). Saturdays and Sundays will still be off, although I may start adding some guests posts on the weekends in the not-too-distant future. Hopefully this will make for better pacing for you, the faithful reader, while keeping you still interested in making connections between the Word and the world. Thanks for sticking with me all this time. I’m looking forward to many more good conversations in the days ahead. Blessings to you!
The Hard Road
Most cultures have a set of proverbs, adages, axioms that form the popular foundation on which the bulk of its people stand when it comes to thinking about how they are going to get by and get along with one another. Many of our culture’s most popular proverbs come from the wit and wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, one of our Founding Fathers. Many of these you probably know well: Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man…healthy, wealthy, and wise. A penny saved is…a penny earned. Don’t put off for tomorrow…what you can accomplish today. Some of his proverbs are a little less familiar, but still really good: He who sows thorns should not go barefoot. The one who is content has enough; the one who complains has too much. Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
“They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
What does it look like to live like the Scriptures are true? In the church today there is much talk about the authority and reliability of the Bible. That’s been the case for much of the last century. There is a whole industry of folks who are committed to defending the Bible as absolutely true. That’s not necessarily a bad thing by any means, but defending the truthfulness of the Scriptures and living our lives as if they really were true are two different things.
“Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
This is the hardest part of the story. This episode reveals Herod—known to history as Herod the Great—as one of the single greatest monsters ever to walk the face of the earth. It puts him in the ranks of Hitler and Stalin and Mao. He may not have killed nearly as many (though he had many thousands more than this put to death in his time, including family members), but anyone who would order the wholesale slaughter of babies jumps to the head of that deadly class. The bottom line right now, though, is this: What on earth are we supposed to do with this?