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December 29, 2023

Two Kings, Two Philosophies, Two Destinies

God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow.

–Philippians 2:9-10

The final motto that illustrates Christ’s attitude regarding success is this: “The way up is down.”

For all their differences, King Herod and King Jesus shared one thing in common: they both died excruciating deaths. The Jewish historian Josephus wrote that Herod died of an untreatable illness that included ulcerated entrails; putrefying, worm-filled organs; and convulsions throughout his body. Jesus, the Son of God, died from the most painful type of death known to man: crucifixion. But that is where the similarity ends.

When Herod died, his body rotted in the grave. When Jesus died, on the third day God raised His body from the dead. Forty days later, He ascended into heaven, and He is coming back again. Paul said in Philippians 2:9-11, “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Herod and Jesus. Two different kings, two different philosophies, two different destinies. Herod said, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” “Don’t get mad; get even.” “Do unto others before they can do unto you.”

Jesus said, “If you’ve got it, you don’t have to flaunt it.” “Others first.” “The way up is down.”

Which path are you following to success and significance? Herod embraced the world’s philosophy for success, and his life ended in humiliation. Jesus embraced God’s formula for success, and the result for Him is eternal exaltation. God says the way to be great is to be a servant: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (vv. 5-8).

That is what Christmas is all about.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “A Portrait of Two Kings” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Flavius Josephus, “Antiquities of the Jews,” 17.168, trans. William Whiston (Auburn and Buffalo, NY: John E. Beardsley, 1895), Perseus Digital Library, Tufts University,

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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