Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Ancient King Obsessed with Becoming 'Unpoisonable'

One of the greatest fears for kings in the ancient world was death by poison. Most kings made slaves pre-taste the wine to test it for deadly toxins. But in the first century B.C., a king named Mithradates went even further. Mithradates was a ruthless king and visionary rebel who challenged the power of Rome, but he was also known for his obsession to find an antidote to any poison. He invented many and various anti-poison potions, and tested them on pre-poisoned prisoners. The cocktail he finally came up with involved forty-one often unusual ingredients (for example, diced viper's flesh). It tasted awful, but Mithradates drank some of the stuff every day, to insure he was un-poisonable. For years his mastery of poisons allowed him to foil assassination attempts and eliminate rivals.

Unfortunately for Mithradates, no-one can cover everything. He was eventually overthrown by his son. The story goes that, holed up in a tower, the king tried to kill himself but, ironically, found that no poison had any effect. Finally, he had to ask one of his guards to stab him to death.

Possible Preaching Angles: Self-sufficiency; Control; Providence of God; Trust—When we don't fear God and trust in his care and providence, we have to take charge of our circumstances. Our quest for control will always end badly.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Logician Succumbs to Distorted Reality

Kurt Gödel was a history-making logician and mathematician who died in 1978. In his later years, while working at the renowned Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, ...

[Read More]

Woman Prays Her Way Through Injustice

Bryan Stephenson, author of Just Mercy and founder of an organization that tries to help those unjustly convicted of crimes, was trying to free a man who was clearly innocent. About ...

[Read More]