Wednesday, August 8, 2012

King Herod, Wise Men, and Jupiter (Matthew 2:1-18)

Jupiter is the false if conventional god of politics. He justifies all we do to gain and maintain political power. How we might act as people devoted to Jupiter is well illustrated by Herod, a king, in a story found in the Bible.

Shortly after Jesus is born in the village of Bethlehem, some wise men—counselors to kings—come to Jerusalem from far away. They ask where they might find the newly born king of the Jews.

Herod, understandably, is not happy to hear this. He is king of the Jews and regards any other claims to kingship as a direct threat to him. As one devoted to Jupiter, he works immediately to eliminate the threat. He does this even if this newborn king is the one whose coming was prophesied by people devoted to the one odd god of the Jews.

First he must find out if the child exists. He asks the experts in such matters where to look for the child. They tell him in Bethlehem.

Herod wants to stay in control of the situation. He does not want anyone to know he is hellbent on killing Jesus. So he asks the visiting counselors, in secret, when exactly they first saw the star which led them to Jerusalem. They tell him that two years had passed since they first saw it.

Then he lies to them. He asks them to find the child and then report back to him so that he too may honor the child.

These counselors find the child, honor him, and leave gifts for him. But then the one odd god gets involved. The one odd god warns them in a dream not to return to Herod. They don’t.

Then the one odd god sends a messenger—an angel—to warn Joseph that Herod plans to murder Jesus. He tells Joseph to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt. He does.

Herod rages when he finds out that the counselors have left without first telling him where to find the child. Herod sends soldiers to Bethlehem. To make sure Jesus dies, but not knowing which child Jesus is, he orders his soldiers to murder all the children in Bethlehem two years old or younger. They do.

Jupiter provided all the justification needed by Herod to lie and by the soldiers to murder. The mothers, however, remained inconsolable.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci.
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.