Luke 9:7-9 (NIV) Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
Guilt does strange things to the minds and hearts of people. Unlike his father, this Herod had a conscience, and his conscience was really bothering him. He had had John beheaded, and had been eaten up with guilt ever since.
Speculation about who Jesus was running rampant at that time. The speculations ran the gamut from Him being Elijah, who was prophesied to be the forerunner of the Messiah Himself (Malachi 4:5-6), to His being some other of the great prophets who had risen from the dead. In people’s minds, those identities would help to explain the amazing miracles that Jesus was doing.
But the opinion that filled Herod’s heart with fear and dread was that Jesus was in fact John the Baptist, risen from the dead. When He was alive, John had strongly and publicly denounced Herod’s marriage to His brother’s former wife, in disobedience to the clear requirements of the law. If he had really risen from the dead, how harsh would his denouncement of Herod be for beheading him!
So, from that moment, Herod determined that he had to see Jesus to see for himself whether or not this was really John. If it was, he would have to figure out some kind of strategy to deal with the potential fallout. If he wasn’t, it would be fascinating to see Him do a miracle or two!
Father, it is a terrible thing to be consumed by guilt that way. But we have a solution to guilt for the sins that we have committed, a solution that Herod never took advantage of: salvation and real forgiveness through faith in Jesus. Herod wanted to see Jesus to be sure of His identity, and maybe see a miracle. But when I came to Jesus, it was because of a heavy load of sin that was weighing my heart down. How amazing to be forgiven, to know the relief from guilt that only complete forgiveness can bring. Thank you! Amen.