Leadership Series: Herod the King – The birth of Persecution

Read Acts 12

You have seen this time and time again.  Someone does something and fails, and someone else immediately tries to do the exact same thing in the exact same way.  And to the surprise of no one, just as the first person fails, so too does the second person, and the third person, and the fourth and the fifth and the hundredth.

That is in some respects the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results.

And yet that is exactly what we see in the New Testament.  Jesus was arrested, put on trial, and then executed; three days later He rose from the dead.  The Jewish and the Roman leadership, in an effort to squash the teachings of Jesus, put Jesus to death; but when He rose and the number of His followers continued to grow, you would think that they would have pulled back and realized that Christianity was here to stay.

Granted, they might have been thrown off by the fact that while Jesus rose from the dead, no one else did afterwards, at least not an earthly bodily resurrection.  So when Herod kills James and arrests Peter, it is logical to assume that the growth of the Church would be stunted, and eventually begin to die.

But quite the contrary happens.  The Church does not die in the face of persecution, instead it grows even further, beyond the borders of Israel, eventually to Rome and the ends of the earth.

What Herod does not realize is that even though he is king, he does not have the final say in whether or not the Church spreads under his watch or not.  He might be able to kill some believers, including important leaders like James; and he can arrest others and put them in prison, like Peter; but he cannot stop the spread of Christianity, nor can he control it, nor can he contain it.  The growth and the prosperity of the Church is determined by God alone, not earthly leaders.

Herod learns that it is God who is in control at the end of Acts 12 when he is struck down when he takes credit for what God Himself has done.

The Word of God increased under Herod and it increased after Herod died.  The growth of the Church is not based on the work of man, it is based solely on the Word of God.

About revschmidt

An LCMS Pastor in North-Central Kansas
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