“Without question, 6 BC was a lousy time to live in Judea. Herod the Great had seized the throne of Israel through bloody intrigue and with political support from Rome. Then, once in power, he guarded his stolen title, “King of the Jews”, so ruthlessly he even put his own sons to death when any of them posed a significant political threat. Herod, though not really Jewish, pretended to be a good Jew by eliminating pork from his diet, but indulged an insatiable appetite for murder. He built a temple for the God of Israel – an architectural wonder it its day – and gave its administration to one corrupt high priest after another. He taxed Jews through the temple in keeping with the Old Testament Law and then used the proceeds to break the first commandment, building cities and temples in honour of the emperor and his Roman deities.
It was a time of unprecedented economic and political advancement for the rich and horrific oppression for everyone else. By the first century BC, a dark cloud had settled over Israel, blocking any ray of hope.
In recent times, as in the past, human beings have abused powerful offices in families, organisations, law enforcement agencies, communities, and in the society at large. The love for family has been relegated in order to focus on power and fame. Instead of using the power as an opportunity to reach lives and change them for good, it is used to strengthen the selfish hunger for everything that puts others last and self first.
This situation requires a unique force that makes you see beyond the present. One that saves you from the enemy of self and introduces you to the fellowship of love. The persistent thirst for power, that leaves you hungry rather than satisfied, cannot be eliminated by the same force that got you there in the first place.
This raises questions such as who/what is this force? What is unique and unopposing about this force that one should search for? In what way does this offer a better package than that of the “powerful self”?”
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See you on Wednesday!
For more on this topic, check out Charles R. Swindoll’s book, ‘Jesus’.