There’s just something murderous about the Herodian dynasty. What a family! These guys were from the line of Idumean rulers in the days of the Roman Empire. Of note is Herod the Great. What a horrible man! Would do anything to maintain power.
Herod was cunning and deceitful, a psychopathic mass murderer. Since Jesus was born King of the Jews he became enemy of state even from birth. In pursuit of the political elimination of Jesus at birth Herod murdered thousands of innocent children!
When Herod the Great died, he divided his kingdom into four and bequeathed them to his sons. It’s why a Herod the Tetrach is mentioned in Matthew 14:1 and Luke 3:1. Tetrach means a fourth part.
This Tetrach, also known as Herod Antipas was the one who tried Jesus and eventually sanctioned his judicial murder. This same Herod Antipas beheaded John the Baptiser in controversial and tabloid fodder circumstances. He was lustfully captivated by the sensuous dance of his stepdaughter and gave the head of John the Baptiser as prize. Amazing thing is, Herod was in awe of John. But his brother’s wife he stole… She hated him with a passion!
Thus the family of Jesus suffered immense political persecution at the hands of the Herods. Joseph had to go into exile and we must not forget John the Baptiser was Jesus’ cousin. Then there was Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great. The fruit does not fall far from the tree.
Herod Agrippa I persecuted the Church in Jerusalem, killed Apostle James. Perhaps the only redeeming feature in the Herodian dynasty was Herod Agrippa II. He would save Paul from being tried and imprisoned in Jerusalem. Paul had appealed to Caesar. Herod Agrippa II was the last of the Herodian dynasty. After him the family fell out of favour in Rome. And so the earthly history of Jesus is wedged between two slabs of bloody circumstances: The bloody hunt for his head as a baby and the eventual sacrifice he made with his blood at Golgotha.
Jesus was a child of prophecy. His entire timeline was a fulfillment of one prophecy after another. There are over 300 messianic prophecies concerning his coming alone. That in itself tells us that Christmas is not just Christmas. Take a look at ten of these prophecies plus their fulfillment:
Jesus will come from the line of Abraham. Prophecy: Genesis 12:3. Fulfilled: Matthew 1:17.
He will be born of a virgin. Prophecy: Isaiah 7:14. Fulfilled: Matthew 1:18.
He will be a descendent of Isaac and Jacob. Prophecies: Genesis 17:19, Numbers 24:17. Fulfilled: Matthew 1:2.
He will be born in Bethlehem. Prophecy: Micah 5:2. Fulfilled: Luke 2:1-7.
He will be a member of the tribe of Judah. Prophecy: Genesis 49:10. Fulfilled: Hebrews 7:14.
He will be from the lineage of King David. Prophecy: Jeremiah 23:5. Fulfilled: Matthew 1:6.
He will be called out of Egypt. Prophecy: Hosea 11:1. Fulfilled: Matthew 2:13–15.
He will enter the temple before it will be destroyed. Prophecy: Malachi 3:1. Fulfilled: Luke 2:25–27.
His birth will be accompanied with great suffering and sorrow. Prophecy: Jeremiah 31:15. Fulfilled: Matthew 2:16.
He will live a perfect life, die by crucifixion. Prophecies: Psalm 16:10, Psalm 22:16. Fulfilled: 1 Peter 2:21–22, Luke 23:33
He will resurrect from death, ascend into heaven. Prophecies: Psalm 16:10, Psalm 68:18. Fulfilled: Acts 2:25–32, Acts 1:9
He will sit at the right hand of God. Prophecy: Psalm 110:1. Fulfilled: Hebrews 1:3.
In other words, the life of Jesus was hugely choreographed. Nothing was accidental. Look at these additional prophecies:
He will bruise Satan’s head. Prophecy: Genesis 3:15. Fulfilled: Hebrews 2:14, 1John 3:8.
As the seed of Abraham will bless all nations. Prophecy: Genesis 12:3. Fulfilled: Galatians 3:8, Acts 3:25, 26.
A priest after the order of Melchizedek. Prophecy: Genesis 14:18. Fulfilled: Hebrews 6:20.
The Last Supper foreshadowed. Prophecy: Genesis 14:18. Fulfilled: Matthew 26:26-29.
The Lamb of God promised. Prophecy: Genesis 22:8. Fulfilled: John 1:29.
The Bridge to heaven. Prophecy: Genesis 28:12. Fulfilled: John 1:51.
The time of His coming. Prophecy: Genesis 49:10. Fulfilled: Luke 2:1-7; Galatians 4:4.
Unto Him shall be the obedience of the people. Prophecy: Gen. 49:10. Fulfilled: John 10:16.
Forsaken because of sins of others. Prophecy: Psalm 22:1. Fulfilled: 2 Corinthians 5:21.
His blood poured out when they pierced His side. Prophecy: Psalm 22:14. Fulfilled: John 19:34.
He shall be the Governor of the nations. Prophecy: Psalm 22:27-28. Fulfilled: Colossians 1:16.
Life comes through faith in Him. Prophecy: Psalm 2:12. Fulfilled: John 20:31.
God does not do random. He is always strategic, always plans ahead, always has a plan. It’s why he tells you to trust him. The technical word for trust in God is faith. It always impresses God when people take him at his word. It’s why he was so impressed with that Roman centurion. “Just speak the word” the man said. (Matthew 8:13).
And so the story of Christmas is not so much the narrative about a baby born in a manger. It’s the story of a deliberate and strategic God who plans eons in advance. Nothing takes him by surprise. It’s why God can confidently tell you, “I know the thoughts I think for you…to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11. If there’s nothing you take away from this Christmas message, it’s the fact that God has a plan for you. God has a plan! Don’t you ever forget that! Any time you’re faced with a difficult circumstance say to yourself, God has a plan!
If you’ll like to give your life to Jesus please pray this prayer: Father I come to you. I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus died for me, that you raised him from the dead. I confess with my mouth that Jesus Christ is my Lord and my savior. Amen.
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org