Hope Misplaced: Herodians
Some people don’t like things to change. They are happy with the status quo and will do anything to keep it that way. Jesus encountered a group like this when he came to earth. The Herodians were closely aligned with the Sadducees religiously and with the Judean royalty politically. Some scholars speculate that they may have been a subgroup of the Sadducees who were more politically minded. They were named after the kingly line of Herods, whose status as the ruling party in Judea they wanted to maintain. The Herodians had wealth and influence and they saw Jesus’ growing popularity potentially affecting their privileged, aristocratic place.
Twice in Mark’s gospel, the Herodians align themselves twice with the Pharisees in opposition to Jesus. Chapter 3 tells us that the Herodians along with the Pharisees sought to destroy Jesus. And again in chapter 12, we find both groups together in their attempt to discredit Jesus with the question about paying taxes to Caesar. Each group was at odds with each other, but seeing a common enemy in Jesus, they joined forces to try and take him down. It is no wonder that Jesus warns his disciples to “beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod (Mark 8:15).” Because just like a little leaven in bread will make the whole loaf rise, so too will the evil motives and distracting noise of these groups infect and distract from the real message.
Jesus didn’t come to maintain the status quo. He came as the fulfillment of Scripture to bring the necessary change for people to get right with God, and that change isn’t always going to be peaceful. We find people just like the Herodians today; they are those that want to maintain the status quo. They don’t want things to change in their lives because they are comfortable doing their own thing. So, don’t be discouraged when you try to share the hope found in Jesus with those who want to maintain the status quo. Keep graciously sharing the words of life, praying that God will work in their hearts to generate the ultimate change that the world needs.
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