John and Jesus’ Political Foes

I pointed out on Sunday the importance of understanding the political environment in which John the Baptist and Jesus began their ministries.  It was not a warm environment to say the least!

Jesus – the Son of God and King of the Jews – was entering a political environment already occupied by one called “the Son of God” (Tiberius Caesar) and by one already called “King of the Jews” (Herod Antipas).  Maybe this is why John the Baptist – who told Israel that the new King was coming – and Jesus who is the true Son of God and King of not only the Jews but of ALL people were not looked upon favorably by the political establishment.  Both were put to death by those in political (and religious) power.

Here’s the slide I created and displayed during my sermon to give a visual look at the political power structure at that time as described by Luke in Luke 3:1-2.


Tiberius Caesar = ruler of the entire Roman Empire

Purple = Herod Antipas, tetrarch (governor) of Galilee and Perea
(the one responsible for the death of John the Baptist)

Brown = Herod Phillip, tetrarch of the northeastern provinces (Antipas’ half-brother)

Red = Pontius Pilate, a prefect (judge) in Judea (oversaw the death of Jesus)