Luke 23:6-8- “6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. 8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort.”
King Herod Antipas, also known as “Herod the Tetrarch” was the son of Herod the Great who is infamous for his role in murdering the babies of Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus. As they say “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and Herod Antipas became infamous for ordering the death of John the Baptizer. The scripture gives us enough info on the character of Herod Antipas to make an assessment of the kind of person he was and how we can learn a cautionary tale from his life. In summary, King Herod was a man who played the political game and also a man who fancied himself on entertainment. Even his approach to Jesus and John the Baptizer was one of simply desiring to entertain himself by being in their presence, without any real desire to follow their teachings of repentance and faith. Herod was a narcissist.
Luke 13:31–32 (NIV): 31 At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.” 32 He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’
Jesus accurately compares King Herod to the cunning and deceitful fox. Foxes are subtle, crafty, greedy, and vicious. They are known for quietly pouncing on unsuspecting animals in the dark, and afterwards disappearing into the night. They are a strange kind of predator in that they do not rely on brute strength but rather upon the ability to catch their prey off guard. King Herod was a man who enjoyed listening to John the Baptizer even after arresting him (Mark 6:20), yet it was only for the purpose of personal amusement. Ultimately, when it was no longer advantageous to his personal interests to keep John alive he pounced on him like a defenseless rabbit in the dark (Mark 6:27-28).
Luke 23:9- “He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.”
King Herod was fascinated with Jesus. He heard the many stories of miracles, healings, and deliverances. But merely having a fascination with Jesus could not save him. To the person who views Jesus as nothing more than a source of personal excitement, He answers their call with silence. There are many people in the world and even in the church who like Jesus, they also like John the Baptizer, but this makes them no different than King Herod the fox. God is not willing to be our object of amusement. He is God.
2 Timothy 4:3- “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”
We live in a generation that is entertainment driven and the dangerous thing that can occur is bringing that mentality into our relationship with God. It transforms the role of God from Lord and King to genie in a bottle. This is also known as the consumer mentality infecting the church. It’s a view that sees Jesus and the church as something which we are to demand personal fulfillment from rather than a source of total spiritual transformation. If your view of Christianity leads to becoming more self centered over sacrificial then you’ve totally missed the point!
Mark 8:15- “”Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
The yeast of Herod is a mentality that says “it’s all about me.” Authentic Christianity says “it’s all about Jesus!” Humility is manifested in submission to God and submission to the call to serve others in His name. Seeking the spotlight, pursuing a platform, exalting yourself, is the exact opposite of what it means to serve Christ. Any platform or spotlight we are given is only to ultimately lift His name over and above the pursuit of personal accolades. When we make Jesus the central focus of everything we do, His joy abounds in us to levels we could not have in any other context.
Prayer for today: Holy Spirit cleanse me of any carnal, narcissistic tendencies. Empower me to submit Your will. Help me to engage in the process of being sacrificial with joy so that Jesus can be glorified through my life. I invite you to severe anything in my life that causes me to bring dishonor to Your name. In Jesus name, amen.