“Herod’s Demise”

Acts 12: 20-24

Luke has been giving story after story about happenings in the early church that seem so unscientific.  Philip meets an Ethiopian returning to his queen and the future of Ethiopia is touched by God’s story.  Saul, a devoted enemy of the early believers is struck blind by a bright light and speaks with Jesus as he, Saul, travels to Damascus to persecute people spreading disinformation about Jesus.  God steps in and Saul believes.  History is impacted.  Then Cornelius, a Roman soldier, has a vision as Peter has a vision in a different city and Gentiles hear God’s story of love for all people.  History is impacted.  Peter is delivered from prison by God’s intervention in history.  Luke sees God’s hand directing the flow of history.  How do we see it? 

      Today’s reading goes back to Herod.  Other sources have King Herod Agrippa I dying in 44 AD.  Herod ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.  Two major cities are fighting with him but send a delegation to plead for peace.  Herod, dressed in royal robes grants an audience and gives a royal speech.  People hail the speech as coming from the voice of a god.  Herod accepts the praise and God acts.  According to Luke, Herod falls down and is eaten by worms.  Yuck.  So ends the first half of Acts.

         It seems that Luke is making a case for God’s direct involvement in the events of history and in individual lives.   Spiritual growth is recognizing those moments, grasping their importance, and living in integrity with the revelation.  Ananias had to choose whether he would go and speak to Saul who had come to jail him.  So counter intuitive.  Peter had to decide if he was going to step into a Gentile home.  So counter intuitive.  Herod had to choose whether he was going to claim to have the voice of a God or humble himself.  He missed his chance.  We can say, yes but that was back then.  Daily we make choices of who we are going to give credit to.  Daily we have experiences.   Daily we are confronted with the truth of these stories that God sees and God is active in our world today, in my world today.

     Few of us are people of importance like Herod, leaders of churches like Peter, and probably more like the maid Rhoda but we all play a part in God’s story.  May we pray that we will recognize God’s hand in our lives from the sunrise, through the events of the day, until we rest in the evening.    May we recognize and give credit to the God who holds our lives in the palm of his hands!

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