Stepping into the Enemy’s Territory:
The life of baby Jesus who just became born, was in immediate danger. He who, according to the words of angel, will be shepherd of His people, who is Emanuel - God with us, the One came to save people from their sins, now needed saving. Literally, within couple of hours of Jesus’ birth, Herod the king, formally issued the command by which the massacre of all Bethlehem babies would automatically take care of Jesus, his main rival. Genocidal maniac Herod went into raging overkill and turned the place into inconsolable spectacle which was drowning in tears of young mothers and fathers of Bethlehem. Was this rage simply rooted in uncontrolled, yet familiar human trait of jealousy, we humans feel when we sense that our position, influence or power is about to be undermined or threatened by someone who is more able, wiser and simply better than us? The answer is yes, but qualified yes. According to the book of Revelation, there is more to it. There was more than met the eye and even that met human experience. Something much bigger was at play in Bethlehem and powers much greater than human ones were engaged in a direct conflict. Simply put, baby Jesus stepped into the enemy’s territory and the name of His main enemy was not Herod but devil or Satan.
And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child, he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to His throne.” (Rev. 12:1-5)
It immediately became clear that Jesus’ mission of saving people, which was heralded by the angel, was the mother of all missions which only the ultimate superhero and ultimate Messiah could accomplish. However, it equally became clear that this was going to be done through the effort of Heaven’s superpowers called; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They however will be opposed hell’s superpowers of devil and his angels. Seemingly, hell’s powers stand no chance, but one is to remember that one of the heavenly trios is just a little baby, a human.
He will be someone on whose shoulders the responsibility of salvation will rest while He will constantly be opposed by the scheming and attacks of Satan and His angels. The greatest mission will be met by the greatest opposition. This is how Matthew begins his gospel. He gives us so much hope yet he leaves us in suspense and with a sense that so much is at stake.
Let me Leave You With These Thoughts
Firstly, I am certain that you personally have had people in your life who have treated you maliciously. There have been people in your life who were jealous of you, who lied to you, undermined you or abused you. These people are the Herods of your life.
Secondly, there is every chance that you could have been Herod to someone. There is a chance that you were jealous of someone, lied about someone and undermined and abused someone. You see we have been simultaneously Herods to some people and some people have been Herods to us.
Thirdly, and most importantly, let us realise that behind Herod there is a much more powerful malicious power called devil. He wants to use us and in doing so make others suffer. Or, he wants to hurt us by using others against us.
Understanding this spiritual reality and accepting that the battle between good and evil is real will help us change our attitude towards others and also position us differently in this war. We come to realise that 'Herod', or another human being is not our main enemy.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic power over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
We also come to realise that our power, wisdom and ability cannot match Satan’s. Our only hope is in Jesus who came to save us from our sins and from devil.
Submit yourself to God. Resist devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)