Bodies That Cry Aloud

In The War of the Jews, Josephus recounts Antipater’s appointment as procurator (manager) of Judea by Caesar.  The most compelling qualification for this position was his valor and sacrifice for Caesar.

Whereupon Caesar encouraged Antipater to undertake other hazardous enterprises for him and that by giving him great commendations and hopes of reward.  In all which enterprises he readily exposed himself to many dangers, and became most courageous warrior; and had many wounds all over his body, as demonstrations of his valor” (Josephus, The War of the Jews, 1.9.5 [193]).

When Antipater’s advancement was pretentiously opposed by a man named Antigonus, the answer to Atigonus’ protest is recorded:

Hereupon Antipater threw away his garments, and showed the multitude of the wounds he had, and said, that as to his good will to Caesar, he had no occasion to say a word, because his body cried aloud, though he said nothing himself” (Josephus, The War of the Jews, 1.10.2 [197], emphasis mine).

Antipater died in 43 BC.  He had at least two sons, Phasael and Herod.  The latter son is likely more familiar to most of us.  Herod presided over Galilee in the first century AD.  Matthew tells us: “Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old and under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men” (Matthew 2:16).  His plan failed, the infant Jesus survives.  The child Jesus grows up, lays down his life for our sins, is resurrected, and the world is turned upside down with this gospel (“good news”).


The Apostle Paul, one of Christ’s disciples, himself being slandered as an apostle of Christ, responded much in the same way Antipater did a little over a century ago.  Paul responds to his critics in Galatia:

From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus (Galatians 6:17). 

Instead of risking life for an earthly king like Caesar, receiving only a temporal reward, Paul put his life on the line for the King of kings, Jesus Christ and the advancement of His gospel, for eternal rewards.  His body cries this aloud.


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