Today, we begin a new sermon series based on the line of Jesus and the impact he has made on us. I'm calling this series The Life and Times of Jesus our savior and this series will Trace some of the important events in the Earthly life of Jesus. The significance of those events and what we can learn about our salvation and the life we are called to live as Believers in Jesus Christ as a result of his actions and his teachings.
This series begins where we left off last week in our songs of Christmas series with the coming of the wise men and it will take us through the Ascension of Our Lord to the right hand of the father where he now makes intercession for us. If you participated in the harmony of the gospels readings during 2019, then you will have a wonderful foundation for understanding the story of Jesus our savior in its contexts.
And in fact our discussions on Wednesday nights here in our discussions on Thursday night at the Greenwood Church app help me and preparing this sermon series as I've learned together with my brothers and sisters in Christ in the church.
I would encourage you to come out for that Wednesday night that we have a wonderful time together. We're almost through the gospels. As we've been going it a little bit slower than the weekly readings. Okay a lot slower than it's been a blessing to us. Would love for you to join us in that blessing on Wednesday nights.
Well, if you have your Bibles with you today, we're going to be looking at Matthew Chapter 2 verses 13 through 18. I am reading from the New Living Translation and I invite you to stand if you're able when you have the text in honor of the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Hear now the word of the Lord.
After the wise men were gone and Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. Get up, flee to Egypt with a child and his mother the angel said stay there until I tell you to return because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him that night Joseph left for Egypt with a child and Mary his mother and they stayed there until Herod's death.
I called my son out of Egypt Herod was Furious when he realized that the wise men and outwitted him. He said soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under based on the wise men's report of the Stars first appearance. Herod's brutal action fulfilled with God has spoken to the Prophet Jeremiah. A cry was heard in Ramah weeping in great morning Rachel weeping for her children refusing to be comforted for they were dead.
The word of God for the people of God
Amen. You may be seated.
Well as we come to The Living Word of God today, we come to a tragic and horrible story of greed paranoia hatred and murder. It's not really a happy way to begin a sermon series on The Life and Times of Jesus our savior, but it is reality and the truth of the world. We live in when Injustice and violence seems to be the order the day especially violence on the most innocent and defenseless Among Us.
And in order to understand the story and events of Our Gospel lesson today. Let's look at a few people that make up the narratives. Since we talked about the Wiseman last week. We don't need to talk about them again, but let's take a look at King Herod and verse 16. We get a glimpse into the heart of King Herod and the death of the sin and self that characterize everything the man did and was. In last week's text we learned that Herod had planned to use the wise man find the Christ child one that had been called the king of the jews.
But his plan was thwarted when by the wisdom of the wise man. They headed God's warning and did not go back to Herod. So that's our texts as Herod was Furious when he realized the wise men had outwitted him.
I kind of like the way it says that outwitted him. So we send soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem two years old and under based on the report of the Stars first appearance.
Now that I understand why Herod did such a horrible destructive thing. You have to understand the depths of Herods other crimes. Josephus best renowned first-century historian reported that Herod killed three of his own sons together with 300 of their attendance a large number of Pharisees.
And some prominent Jewish official official as well as members of his own Court, Not really a great guy to serve under and the reason Herod was so brutal besides the evil that reigned in his heart was the paranoia of being an illegitimate King of the Jews now, why was he an illegitimate? He was not a king by Birthright in the line of the Jewish team but was appointed by the Roman who had conquered Israel in 63 BC. He also was not Jewish by birth there's a double whammy there for you? Not a Jewish teen not Jewish by birth, although he was of the family of Abraham. He was not a descendant of Jacob later became known as Israel, but instead was a descendant of Esau also known as Edom, Jacobs brother.
And Edom or Esau did not worship the one true God but he chose to take part in the Canaanite world that He was ordered not to by God himself over her the time the Edomitese have become the sworn enemies of Israel and even participated in campaigns against them.
Not really the kind of person you wanted your king. If you're Jewish. King Herod was only Us in religion because eventually some Jewish kings, conquered the edomites and it was kind of a convert or die situation not really a good way to get people to come to know God and so he was forced into it. He was like forced convert to Judaism secure the support of the Jewish people. He married a Jewish princess seems good.
Now, he's married into the Royal line, but that didn't last long because she felt threatened by her. So he murdered her and the son they had together again invalidating his kingship now. That's the guy we're dealing with you orders the death of all those little two girls in under what a mess. He was always afraid that someone would come along and remove him as king.
Especially someone who was of the proper newest kingly line and fear of the newborn king of the Jews are the little boys in Bethlehem was a way to make sure no one to take the throne away from him even if divinely appointed as king or much less the devine king the father.
Herod the Great slice the title The Great probably Muhammad Ali I am the greatest.
Well here's some lessons for us. Uncontrolled ambition can turn a person into a monster. God helps us keep things in the proper perspective when we focus on him above all else. well in Philippians 2 verses 3 and 4. We are told to do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also the interest of others. There is nothing wrong with ambition if it comes from the proper perspective perspective of how can I make a better life for my family care for my community and for my brothers and sisters in Christ.
When we have an ambitious passion for something we should ask ourselves. How can Christ use this for his glory and the furtherance of his kingdom. If the answer we get points away from God into our own selfishness then perhaps we as Believers of Jesus Christ need to look to see what other things God would have us to do. That are ambition is ungodly. And so we need to him and say Lord, what would you have me do obviously this isn't your way? So what should I do. A wholehearted commitment to God will always lead us down the right path.
Another thing, we need to learn from him as the jealousy Cloud our judgment. That's why we should appreciate what God has given us instead of being jealous or what someone else has or what someone else might gain. Jealousy is running a lot more relationships than anything else and it often steals our joy Proverbs 14:30 says a peaceful heart leads to a healthy body jealousy is like cancer in the bones.
We have to keep our eyes on Jesus and leave jealousy aside.
Christ calls us into loving relationship rather than building monuments to ourselves. Verses 23 to 24 says work willingly at whatever you do do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people anything that you're doing no matter what your job no matter what the task if you work willingly as if it's for the Lord God will honor it. remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as a reward at the master you are serving.
The murder of the Innocents was just an outgrowth of the character and selfishness of King Herod which let him further and further away from the God. He said he was serving our lives will and his way for us in this world. Our Lives will bring honor and glory to God if we trust him. God will even use the ungodly though still his purposes in the world is the ungodly. It's a good thing because we elect a lot of ungodly people to office overtime.