May 23 – Trip to the Holy Land – Bethlehem (Herodian)

DAY 11 – BETHLEHEM – THE HERODIAN

Theme – Humility

Read Philippians 2:1-11

No question about it… Herod the Great loved the good life! The remains of his palaces dot the landscape throughout Israel. Nothing more demonstrates his madness and quest for glory than the Herodian. It’s a majestic man-made mountain that rises 2,457 feet above sea level – the highest point in the Judean desert.

Herod thought he knew where he wanted to spend eternity… at the Herodian. So he prepared his own tomb on the mountain. In Wars of the Jews, Flavius Josephus, the first century historian, describes the funeral of Herod with these words: He “omitted nothing of magnificence. . . there was a bier all of gold, embroidered with precious stones, and a purple bed of various contexture, with the dead body upon it, covered with purple; and a diadem was put upon his head, and a crown of gold above it . . the body was carried two hundred furlongs, to Herodian, where he had given order to be buried.”

That was typical of Herod. Even in his death, he longed for the opulence and grandeur that came with being king.  What a contrast with Jesus! As the Second Person of the Godhead, He enjoyed the worship of the angels before His birth in Bethlehem. But He willingly surrendered the grandeur of heaven to identify with us and accomplish the purpose of His Father here on earth.

Paul wrote: “…He gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8 – NLT).

Again, we ask why? Why would Jesus surrender all of that grandeur for the most humble life imaginable?  Here’s the answer: “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 – NLT).

King Herod wanted glory for himself, so he erected a majestic palace at the Herodian where he could command the adoration of his subjects. Jesus, the Son of God, was born right under Herod’s nose in a cave of Bethlehem in the most humble circumstance. One king forced his subjects into poverty while he became rich. The other King became poor so that we might experience the riches of heaven for all eternity with Him.

Prayer of reflection:  Lord Jesus, thank you for surrendering the worship of the angels so that I could enjoy the glory of heaven forever.

Bob Fetterhoff

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