14 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet. 6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Perhaps Herod was a man tortured by guilt over his ordering the execution of John the Baptist? Maybe he felt fearful when he heard about Jesus, mistaking him for John come back, and his guilty conscience wouldn’t let him rest?
What Herod needed was forgiveness. Only the forgiveness from God could lift the fear and dread he may have felt at the thought of John returning. I imagine Herod, was convicted in his spirit & regretted the rash promise he made to the dancing girl, and regretted the way he had been manipulated by Herodias.
But Herod mistook Jesus for John the Baptist, because Herod couldn’t see past Jesus’ miraculous acts. He couldn’t see that Jesus was much more than a healer or miracle worker, more than the prophet who had come before him. People are still mistaking Jesus today – as a good man, as an interesting historical figure, as a prophet. Jesus is God and his message was so much more than miraculous acts. Jesus’ message was forgiveness and restoration of relationship with God, so we can have intimacy with God as we were created to enjoy.
If only Herod had heard this message being preached by Jesus he could have received forgiveness, sought forgiveness, forgiven himself. Such forgiveness restores broken spirits, and lifts the darkness of fear. It is found in Jesus who died for all of us.
Dear Lord Jesus, Thank you for the forgiveness you preached and brought to me when I was far from God. When your love was revealed by your Holy Spirit my life changed. Thank you so much. Amen
Written by Claire Moore