November 22, 2021 – Monday
Luke 9:7-9 NIV
7 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,
8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life.
9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.
When I taught Sunday on Luke 9:1-17, I gave short thrift to these three verses as I wanted to focus really on what happened earlier when the twelve disciples were sent out with Jesus’ power and authority and then afterwards feeding 5,000 men and maybe as many women and children. So, today I really wanted to take a much deeper look at these three verses and the following comments reflect my efforts therein. They are somewhat late in the day as I had an eye exam today where my eyes were dilated and afterwards, I was unable to focus or things were just too bright until Bible Study on the 143 Psalm where I could finally read once again.
First of all, who was Herod the tetrarch? He was Herod Antipas and he reigned over 1/4th of the territory his father Herod the Great had ruled over. His father, a paranoid man, was the one who killed all the little children in Israel hoping to kill the true king of Israel while Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt until Jesus was about twelve years old.
Why was Herod so perplexed? First of all, he had had John the Baptist beheaded when he knew he should have not done so. Read Mark 6:14-29 for more details on this and how it came about. The result of all this was likely a guilty and fearful conscience. We are not told this, but his questions and actions seem to reflect this.
Jesus’ teaching and miracles were the talk of much of Israel which only increased as Jesus sent out His twelve disciples to teach about the kingdom of God being near while also heading and driving out demons from the possessed. This is probably why Luke took the time to tell us in verses 7-9 about Herod’s concerns and worries. Plus, this is just before Jesus’ miracle of feeding 5,000 and likely more. Now there were 5,000 and more witnesses to what Jesus could do. The word of and about Jesus would spread far and wide with greater veracity than ever before.
Oddly enough Herod tried to quell his fears by telling others to remember he had beheaded John the Baptist. This was likely false bravado as it would only increase his fears as he knew and liked and admired John. But who was this Jesus then was a question that probably tore at his soul? Jesus the humble unknown carpenter from Nazareth was causing Herod the Tetrarch to tremble without even knowing who Jesus really was. The power of the Holy Spirit was being felt even in Herod’s palace.
From the historical notes of Josephus’ Antiquities 18:119, it says Herod Antipas imprisoned John the Baptist in his Perean fortress Machaerus, which included a dungeon, and executed him. Aretas IV, king of Nabatea, later vanquished Herod Antipas in battle, and Antipas’s own people attributed Herod’s loss to divine judgment for his wicked execution of John the Baptist. Interesting historical record that backs up Scripture.
Looking at these three verses to see the reach of guilt and Jesus’ growing fame along with Josephus’ historical record should do one thing – deepen our faith in Jesus and His work for our salvation!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for sending me back to look once again to understand why Luke put those three verses there. I am grateful to have a deeper understanding. – In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton in Beavercreek