March 2, 2016
16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more.”
Can you imagine the depths of wicked depravity it would take to massacre every baby boy two years old and under in a town and the surrounding region? I believe the technical term for this is infanticide.
Something in us wants to believe the human race is getting progressively better by nature and that the people in the Bible were somehow more primitive in nature. I suspect people in the New Testament era felt the same way– that they were far more advanced and civilized and refined to believe the atrocities of Pharaoh could ever happen again.
Remember Pharaoh’s order that the midwives kill all the baby Israelite boys as they were being born, and when they didn’t do it he ordered that their families drown them in the Nile River. This is unfettered cruel brutality.
Almost 2,000 years had passed and it was happening all over again.
Today, almost 4,000 years later we want to think we have progressed as a race, yet we are still witnessing unimaginable atrocities being perpetrated by the human race throughout the world. And lest we let ourselves off the hook as the most sophisticated nation in the history of the world, we need only be reminded of the 57,000,000 unborn children who have been aborted in America since 1973.
If anything, the depravity of the human race is getting more complex and compounded as time rolls on.
It’s a mortifying marvel that the God of Heaven and Earth actually fled from the disastrous depravity of the human race. Just as Pharaoh pursued the people of God out of Egypt, Herod pursued the Son of God back to Egypt. Just as the people of God escaped the wickedness of Pharaoh, now the Son of God would escape the wickedness of Herod.
We know exactly where this goes don’t we? Gods own people would ultimately crucify Gods own Son, chasing him all the way to the cross and literally nailing him down there.
No word can capture the depths of evil the human race is capable of committing. We have made progress as a race in every category except righteousness. The human race continues to be as brutal and savage as it has ever been. This is not pessimism. It’s just honest. It is what it is. We need not be down on the human race, just honest. The key for us is to cling to the possibilities of the gospel of Jesus Christ to completely transform people into the glory of his image; changing evil into good and beginning with us.
1. Do you tend to think that the human race has progressed from its early days and is now somehow more virtuous and good by nature than in earlier more primitive times?
2. How can we be brutally honest about the human race without being pessimistic about the possibilities of God’s transforming grace?
3. Are you aware of your own propensity to commit evil and wicked acts left to your own devices and apart from the grace of God? What implications does this have for your discipleship?
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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. firstname.lastname@example.org.