Keep Herod in Christmas – Wk 16 – Sunday 14th Dec


Jeremiah 32:31-35

Micah 5:2-5a

Matthew 1:18-2:15

 ”We do not live in an ideal world. To be alive in the adventure of Jesus is to face at every turn the destructive reality of violence. To be alive in the adventure of Jesus is to side with vulnerable children in defiance of the adults who see them as expendable. To walk the road with Jesus is to withhold consent and co-operation from the powerful, and to invest it instead with the vulnerable. It is to refuse to bow to all the Herods and all their ruthless regimes ‐ and to reserve our loyalty for a better King and a better Kingdom.” (Brian McLaren, We Make the Road by Walking, Ch 16)

Art from Wikipedia: The Massacre of the Innocents (Le massacre des innocents) – James TissotMassacre of the Innocents, Codex Egberti, late 10th century.

Did it Happen?

Did Jesus go to Egypt? Did the Slaughter of the Innocents happen?

It turns out there are other sources which confirm this, this info comes from Sweet, L.M., 1979–1988. Innocents, Massacre of the G. W. Bromiley, ed. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised, 2, p.829.

“There are in existence two stories, one traced by Origen through Jews of his own day to earlier times, and the other in the Talmud, which connect Jesus with Egypt and attempt to account for His miracles by reference to Egyptian magic”

“Another mark of historicity is the telling of the story of the Magi so objectively and with such personal detachment. Both Jews and early Christians had strong views about astrology and magic in general, but the author of this Gospel tells the story without emphasis and without comment and from the viewpoint of the Magi. His interest is purely historical and matter-of-fact.”

“The portrait of Herod the Great supports historicity… there is far more than savagery in the incident. First there is this undeniable element of inherent probability in the story. Practically all of Herod’s murders, including those of his beloved wife and his sons, were perpetrated under the sway of one emotion and in obedience to a single motive. They were in practically every instance for the purpose of consolidating or perpetuating his power. He nearly destroyed his own immediate family in the half-mad jealousy that on occasion drove him to the very limits of ferocity, simply because they were accused of plotting against him. The accusations were largely false, but the suspicion doomed those accused. The murder of the Innocents was another crime of the same sort.”

Sweet concludes that:

“All this was so true of Herod, of the atmosphere that always surrounded him, and of the historic situation, that we are forced to conclude, either that we have veracious history more or less directly received from one who was an observer of the events described, or the work of an incomparably clever romancer.”


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