"Rest In Pieces"
December 4, 2008
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there will be no end. Luke 1:32-33
Go to Jerusalem and you will see, off to the south, a hill that looks like a mini-volcano.
It's not a volcano. It's the Herodium, the winter palace of King Herod the Great. You remember - he's the fellow who had the baby boys of Bethlehem murdered.
Now, according to Ehud Netzer, head of Jerusalem's Hebrew University's excavation team, it appears the crypt and two-story mausoleum of Herod the Great may have been found.
The decorative artwork -- unique to that time - and the lavish setting, suggest Herod may have chosen the place to be his final resting place.
The only problem is, Herod the Great isn't resting there. His bones are nowhere to be found. "Where did he go?" I hear you ask. Well, don't think Jerusalem can boast a second resurrection. It can't. In conquering death, Jesus stands unique.
The current theory is the Jews who rebelled against Rome in 71 AD looked upon Herod the Great as a puppet of Rome. So much did they despise this monarch, they disposed of his remains and, as much as they were able, destroyed his tomb.
So much for Herod the Great, and Alexander the Great, and Katherine the Great, and all the other "Greats" of history.
Truly, if you want to follow a person who is really worthy of the title "Great," you must look to Jesus, God's Son, our Redeemer. His greatness stands unique in the annals of human history.
Even heaven agrees. That's why, at Jesus' annunciation, Gabriel told Mary that "He will be great." Note the selection of words. The archangel doesn't say Jesus will be "called great." He says, Jesus "will be great."
And so He is - our Sacrifice, High Priest, and Savior. He frees us from sin, Satan, and death. His is a Kingdom that will never end.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, Herod the earthly Great was only the first of the world's monarchs who have tried to dethrone you from the hearts and souls of men. Their failure comes as no surprise because You are the promised Savior. You remain victorious over them, as well as our archenemies. Now, may we praise the greatness of what You have done for us in Bethlehem, on Calvary's cross, and in Your borrowed tomb. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries