Herod failed in his attempt to execute Peter and now he gets what he deserves. Note that it was his pride that ultimately led to this judgment from God.
In contrast to Herod’s gruesome death, what does verse 24 tell us about the word of God and the cause of Christ?
Again, what lesson is there for us about being faithful to God in a culture that may be anti-Christian at times?
God foils Herod’s plan to have Peter executed. This is a wonderful story about how God delivered Peter from prison and how he comes to the house of Mary where many of the Christians were gathered together praying.
Let’s not get caught up in the excitement and forget that James was beheaded. Also Herod executes the soldiers under whose watch Peter had “escaped”.
What does all this teach us about following Jesus in a world where people might be antagonistic towards Christianity?
What else is interesting to you about this account?
In today’s reading we see an old enemy of the God’s people, Herod, begins to “harass some from the church”.
This is the grandson of Herod the Great who had the babies killed when Jesus was born. His uncle is the Herod Antipas who beheaded John the Baptist.
James has been killed with the sword and it seemed for certain a similar fate awaited Peter. How does the church respond in verse 5?
How is this an example for us to follow?
Today’s Text: Matthew 14:1-12
It’s interesting that even in Herod’s palace they are debating the identity of Jesus (see also Mark 6:14-16). Herod (this is the son of Herod the Great who killed the baby boys in Bethlehem), thinks that Jesus is John the Baptist who has risen from the dead.
So we learn John is dead and then we are given the background story and told why Herod had imprisoned John and why he had him killed.
It says Herod was “very sorry” when he realized he was asked to behead John, yet he went through with the horrible act. Why did he do this?
John did his work preparing the way for Jesus, was put in jail for boldly teaching God’s truth regarding morality, spent sometime there before he was finally beheaded. Would you say he deserved a better outcome? What does this teach us about following God?
Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:19-23
Herod dies and Joseph moves his family from Egypt back to Israel, and finally Nazareth.
The text seems to indicate Joseph initially thought to settle in Judea. Why might he have thought that? Why did he not?
Consider for a moment that there is a sense in which Jesus was from, Bethlehem, Egypt, and Nazareth (there are Bible references to all of these as being prophesied, and all three were fulfilled). What does this teach us about God’s power, knowledge, or ability to work in human affairs?
Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:12-18
Herod is seeking to destroy the new born “the king of the Jews”. God warns the wise men to not report back to Herod as he had asked, and then warns Joseph to take the child and mother and flee to Egypt. Herod, seeing he is deceived tries to kill the baby by issuing his horrible decree.
This is a dark history and an early indication that the story of Jesus is not going to be pleasant in all details.
What are your thoughts about this Herod?
What is the extent of this infanticide?
Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:1-11
“Wise men from the East” are led by a star to come see and worship the new born king of the Jews. Herod, the current Jewish king, becomes paranoid and begins to devise a way to deal with his potential rival. The wise men worship Jesus and present gifts to him from their treasures.
We don’t know a lot about these “wise men” but one thought might be that it serves as another illustration of the universal appeal of Jesus. What do you think is the main take away point?
Was Jesus a rival of Herod?
Extra Credit: Its always interesting to compare what the Bible says with traditional, popular versions of the Bible events. The traditional story of the wise men is that on the night of Jesus birth 3 wise men follow a star that leads them to the manger scene where they worship the baby Jesus. How does that compare with the actual Bible account?