Hi. Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host of the daily challenges. Today is Tuesday, the day we study the Bible together. This week, as part of our series on the identity of Jesus, we’re going to study a story where the first Christians started to face imprisonment, and even death. But despite all this oppression, they were actually free!

About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread. And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. (Acts 12:1-5)

You can see from the first few lines that people in these days were not free! They were under the rule of an oppressive king like Herod, desperate to prove himself to both the Romans and the Jewish elite as a capable leader.

He’s probably worried about the capital city of Jerusalem falling to a rebellion during religious festivals, which would be very bad news for him as the supposed king under a Roman Emperor who wants internal peace in the empire.

So, he’s between a rock and a hard place, and this has driven him to become a cruel and fearful leader who punishes any dissent or threat to his fragile hold on power.

I’ve seen leaders like this – maybe you have as well.

Question: When have you seen a leader like Herod in life (at home, at work or in politics)?