Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the emperor, and Saul.
Sometimes you have to read Scripture slowly or else you are going to miss really neat things.
Did you notice Manaen? Who was he?
Manaen, who had been brought up with Herod the emperor.
This phrase implies that Manaen was a foster brother of King Herod.
Let me say this more clearly— Manaen, who was a prophet/teacher/leader in the early church, was also the foster brother of the infamous Herod.
In Biblical times, certain children were chosen to live in the royal court and would be educated with the royal children. Sometimes these were children of family friends of the king, or children of alliance partners. We are not sure why Manaen was brought up with the king.
But what we do know— Manaen grew up with King Herod.
Quick history lesson:
This Herod is the youngest son of Herod the Great. (Herod the Great is the ruler who killed all the baby boys born around the same time that Jesus was born.)
This Herod is the same Herod who ruled the area of Galilee when Jesus began his ministry.
This is the same Herod who divorced his wife and married his half-brother’s sister. When John the Baptist spoke out against this, he had John’s head brought to him on a silver platter.
This is the same Herod whom Jesus was sent to after his arrest. Jesus was brought initially to Pilate, and Pilate didn’t know what to do with him. So he sent him to be examined by Herod. Herod demanded for Jesus to perform a miracle, and when Jesus refused to perform, Herod sent him back to Pilate.
Both Herod and Manaen were raised in the same royal court. Presumably they were raised in a similar way.
Yet their lives diverged in an extraordinary way.
One man— Herod—actively worked against the ministry of Jesus.
The other man—Manaen—became one of the leaders in the early church.
This is a story of two people who began in close companionship, but end up in vastly different places.
Your starting place doesn’t matter as much as the choices you make as you go.
We all have different starting places in life that have affected who we are today.
What is also true is that we all make choices that affect the people we become.
May the story of Manaen and Herod encourage you to make intentional choices to share God’s story. Let us be the Manaens of the story!
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. The handbells and a portion of the choir will lead us in worship. We will also have a Palm Parade with the children.
See you on Sunday!