You read the scriptures, especially the Gospels, and you come across these little sects of religious folk that Jesus keeps running into.
There are the Pharisees, of course. They’re probably the most well known because they’re often the foil for Jesus in these little narrative episodes, especially in John’s Gospel. What we forget, of course, is that Jesus was of the Pharisaic tradition himself…which is probably why he hung out with them so much.
The Pharisees believed in a mass resurrection of the dead when the Messiah arrived, and awaited the Messiah fervently.
There were smaller subgroups within the Pharisees: those who followed Rabbi Shammai, who believed all the laws had to be followed to a jot and tittle, and those who followed Hillel (Jesus’ tradition), who claimed you could follow all the necessary laws while standing on one foot. And other small divisions in the Pharisees; too many dogmatic points to enumerate, but you get the picture.
Then there are the Sadducees, another sect that was at odds with the Pharisees. They didn’t believe in the resurrection of the dead, and this was one of their big beefs with Jesus. It’s why they asked him, “In the resurrection, whose wife is the woman who was married multiple times?”
They didn’t ask out of curiosity, but with a wink and a smile.
Jesus tells them it’s a stupid question…
And then there is this other group, the Herodians. The Herodians are the religious people close to Herod. They are largely wealthy, or attracted to wealth, and are largely powerful, or attracted to power.
They abandoned their religious convictions for the sake of political expediency and power consolidation at every turn. Herod, the puppet king of Rome, was known as a ruthless ruler, betraying his religion in order to be in bed with power.
And here’s the thing: Herod knew Rome was using him to keep control, and Rome knew Herod didn’t care about Rome at all, but just was using Rome to keep power.
And here’s my point: modern conservative evangelicals (and their leaders like Graham, Falwell, and…name one), are the Herodians of the modern age.
They know Trump isn’t a Christian; no more a Christian than Caesar was a Jew. But they don’t care; he gets them what they want: power and appointments.
Likewise, Trump couldn’t care less about evangelical principles (really? He once read from “Two Corinthians”…the man has never cracked a Bible), but uses them to get control.
And here’s the dirty, emperor-has-no-clothes truth: they both know they are using each other, and don’t care.
They don’t care!
Their deceit is whispered behind doors, but it’s plain as day, and the rest of the world suffers over this Herod’s Bargain. Power is gained as ethics, principles, and morals are sacrificed like a lamb on the altar of the world’s stage.
When we read these Gospel stories, it’s important to find yourself there. I’m usually with the doubters and the skeptics. But the modern evangelical?
Well, read Mark 3:6.