Another Word…by Gus Keiser

October 30, 2017

Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and burden is light.

                                                                                                                             Matthew 11:28-30

 Whenever we hear the name Herod the Great mentioned, we immediately associate him with Jesus’ birth. But Herod was also the great builder of the ancient world, as he left his footprints all over Israel.  The sheer size and grandeur of his structures were second to none.

It was he who remodeled the great Jerusalem temple, and along with ten thousand men, built the retaining walls around the Temple Mount, which took ten years of construction. Just one of the stones on the second course of the wall’s foundation was sixty-four feet long, eight feet high, and twelve feet deep.  It must have taken many hernias of “free” labor to get into place.  Capable of encompassing four football fields, the Temple Mount still remains the largest man-made platform in the world.

Another of Herod’s construction projects was Herodian, his summer palace, fortress, monument, burial ground and district capital. Upper Herodian contained water cisterns, tunnels and hidden apertures to prevent against sneak attacks.  Lower Herodian had a large pool in the center of a garden surrounded by pillars.

Herod also built Masada, a sprawling palace with numerous fortifications on a high plateau overlooking the Dead Sea.

And then there was the deep water harbor city of Caesarea, a “planned city” of crisscrossing roads, a Roman temple, amphitheater, hippodrome, markets, residential quarters, aqueducts, piers and giant warehouses.

Interestingly, the majority of the structures Herod built served as fortifications, primarily due to the fact that, even though he was Herod the “Great,” he was also a very selfish, insecure, cruel, and paranoid person, established by the fact that he had numerous members of his family murdered and various rabbis to secure his leadership role in his kingdom. It was all just about him!

And then there was Jesus…who also left a footprint, but over the entire world. He didn’t own a home where he could rest his head.  It was with total peace and contentment that he chose to do his Father’s will.  With all power at his fingertips, he willingly gave up his own life.  By sending his Son to earth to die, God stooped down to become a servant for us.

Lord, help us not to follow the world’s visible and ostentatious ways of building a kingdom. Instead, remind us that the kingdom of God is inside us, as we choose to obey Christ’s example of a meek and pure heart.  Amen.

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