The recent murder of 17 students in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day stunned the nation. The senseless act by an armed teenager devoid of any values or virtues was highlighted by Broward County sheriff deputies devoid of the same virtues.
One of the most diabolical events in history involved the death of children and the cowardice of those in authority. It happened soon after the birth of Christ and is known as the “Slaying of the Innocents”.
King Herod ordered his henchmen to kill all the young boys in Bethlehem. He had heard the prophecy that the long-awaited king would be born there. The visit of the Magi from the East confirmed the timing and he determined to eliminate this threat to his throne.
This was not unusual for the paranoid Herod, he had three sons and one of his wives executed because he thought they wanted his kingdom.
It was a devastating scene: mothers screaming, fathers carrying their little sons, the flash of weapons, the flow of innocent blood, mothers clutching the still and silent corpses of their precious children. All while the temple police and Roman soldiers did nothing.
Fortunately, the parents of the Christ-child heeded the divine guidance to leave the area and they fled to Egypt.
The composer of this chaos watched from his lair. With each flash of the sword, the Prince of Darkness grinned. With each plunge of the knife, he danced with excitement. Satan had no remorse for the mass murder he devised. He was intent on only one thing–killing the Christ before He left the cradle.
Thirty years later, the other event Satan has planned, arrives. Once again he has plotted the murder of the innocent. Once again a wicked king named Herod is his pawn. Once again there are the tears of a mother who wonders why.
This time Satan is sure to be triumphant. The One who escaped him at Bethlehem is nailed to a cross and a spear thrust into His side. Like before, the innocent is pierced and blood is shed. Like before, no one stops the travesty. The devil and his demon horde celebrate with glee.
But the macabre rejoicing is short-lived. For the crucified One who descends into the cavern of death has not come to surrender. He has come to reclaim his own and set the captives free. He has come to make a spectacle of the devil (Colossians 2:15) and confiscate the keys of hell and death.
Among the voices that sing His praise are His Bethlehem brothers. They died that He might escape and He has now died for their escape. The anguish of Bethlehem and Golgotha has turned to joy on Easter morning.
The next time you wonder about the senseless suffering in the world, remember the Easter story. The victory continues for those who put their hope in Him.
* Petition: Dear Lord, thank You for the eternal hope that Easter provides all those in Christ.