Citizens of today's nation-states often succumb to an "almost religious reverence for the power of the state" (Willimon 1988:112). Theophilus and his peers lived under regimes where homage to the emperor was not only a civic duty but a welcome way of expressing appreciation for the "safety net" the emperor had provided. But the demand for total loyalty will turn into total opposition when the state faces Christians who confess, "Jesus is Lord!"
The narrative of Herod's opposition and demise can help Christians face political opposition with discerning confidence and lets the inquiring unbeliever know that the state cannot stop the church in its mission.
IVP New Testament Commentaries are made available by the generosity of InterVarsity Press.
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