BY TOM ALBRECHT
At this season when we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus, I was intrigued by the character traits of those who betrayed our Lord.
The first character I noticed was Herod Antipas … it all started with his response to John the Baptist. We know from scripture that Herod was someone who was curious but not committed to any real convictions. Even though his passions led him to the beheading of John the baptist - as a result of Salome's seductive dance - he was saddened by the request to have John killed.
The scriptures record that "he feared John, knowing he was a just and holy man.” Mark 6:20 states that after hearing John he was "perplexed" with many thoughts and experienced great inner discord. This passage in Mark says Herod heard John gladly and that he actually looked after him, protected him. However, Herod's passions were stirred by Salome's seductive dance and he lacked the conviction to overturn a foolish oath he made public while his guests were attending his birthday party.
Even before Herod gave orders to have John beheaded, John had angered Herod and his wife Herodias so much so that he would have killed him for calling out his adulterous marriage. But Herod feared the multitude because they considered John a prophet, so he had him arrested and eventually killed him.
Some time later, when Herod heard of the miracles of Jesus, his conscience was awakened to the fact that he had killed John. He concluded that the miracles being done were the result of John being raised from the dead. He then openly admitted, "this is none other than John, whom I beheaded, and the miracles are manifest through him." So we see a mad man guilty of adultery, fearful of John's preaching, yet curiously glad to hear him ... but unchanged at core of his being. Then, lacking conviction, he is seduced by his daughter to behead John.
Finally, his seared conscience has made him insensitive and unable to recognize who Jesus is when he comes face to face with him at Pilates request. Luke 23:7-12 tells of Herod seeing Jesus just before he is scourged and crucified. The scriptures say Herod was exceeding glad to see Jesus for he had wanted to see him for a long time.
He had heard many things about Jesus and hoped to see some miracles done by him. After interrogating him, Jesus did not answer a single word, and the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. Herod was so calloused and unmoved that he and his troops mocked and derided Jesus, placing a royal robe on him and sending him back to Pilate.
People who resist the word of God and give way to their passions and seek the approval of men will at some point lose the ability to discern the reality of the Christ ... even as they come face to face with him.
May we carefully seek to hear the voice of the prophets and embrace the Savior and make him Lord of all.