Advent 2018 – Herod

This is the fourth in our Advent series of reflections, written by pioneering youth workers…

Now, believe me, I’m not looking for your sympathy.
I know I am the bad guy in the story.
But I don’t often get invited to tell you my side of the story.

So thank you for asking.…

My name is Herod, and so you don’t confuse me with other Herods…
you might as well know that I was known as Herod the Great.
Modesty forbids me going any further down that route.
But just bear in mind that when the Roman Senate appointed me I
knew that ruling this particular kingdom would be pretty tough going.

The Jews are not the easiest of peoples to govern.
They have a love-hate relationship with rulers in general.
They seem to think they have a hot-line to God, the King of Kings.
And so they don’t treat anyone else in power with a lot of respect.
This meant I needed to be tough and always on my guard.
For the record, it wasn’t just the baby boys of Bethlehem that I killed.
Despite all that I did my very best to spruce the place up with theatres and monuments of all sorts.
And you probably know that it was me who started the building of the great temple in Jerusalem.
It wasn’t finished in my life-time, and I hear that it was destroyed by the Romans soon afterwards,
but it was no mean building: I tell you!
Still, I guess it’s the baby boys that you really have on your mind.

Well just put yourselves in my shoes for a moment.
I have to watch my back day and night, and then some very well-connected visitors come from miles away telling me and all the court that they are looking for the one who has been born king of the Jews! And what’s more that they have come to worship him. There was something about a star too, but I’m too hard-headed to believe that sort of thing.

Listen to me for a moment: they said a new king had been born who was going to rule my kingdom.
I had needed to kill family and lots of others to become king in the first place.
So I wasn’t going to relax now. Would you, I wonder?
So I wanted to make sure that I killed this king off right away.
Enough problems with the rabble of this kingdom, without having a rival who was known throughout the world.
The Jews would be sure to take the rebel king’s side.

So I ordered the very modest act of killing just the baby boys in Bethlehem.
It was simple and obvious.
I was never sure if I actually got him.
But if not, I wonder what happened to him.
Did he rule the Jews? Did he like my temple?
How did he get on with the Romans.
Now they’re a pretty cruel bunch when it comes to it.
Crucifixion is too much even for me.
But I guess that they wouldn’t have killed a King of the Jews like that.

What did you say? That was what it said on his cross when he died?
So he did survive my murder plot, but then things went badly wrong?
What’s that? God raised him from the dead!
Stars and astrology are one thing, but resurrection is another.
People still worship and follow him all over the world?
So I was right to try and have him put down as a baby, after all.
I bet he is still causing trouble to those in power.
Sounds like the sort who only attracts rebels and down and outs.
Wonder if he turned the other cheek…
Not my sort of king at all.


By Keith White (


Join us this advent.

Frontier Youth Trust is a home for pioneer youth workers. As part of our shared rhythm of life we have invited pioneers from within our community to contribute a reflection about a character from the nativity story. We will be posting these reflections throughout advent.

We invite you to journey with us and discover the story afresh.