King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”

And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!” Mark 6:14-17

What a stir Jesus was causing throughout the whole country. From north to south, east to west, everyone was talking about Him. They did not know what to make of Him. Never in their lifetime or on the 400 years since the last prophet spoke authoritatively from God, had anyone arisen in Israel like Him! It’s no wonder they thought He was Elijah or one of their great prophets returned from the dead. The last thing on their minds was that He was their long-awaited Messiah.

Herod’s conscience was his biggest enemy. He knew he had murdered John the Baptist through Herodias’ trickery and he must have been haunted day and night by the memory of John’s head on a platter, sightless eyes staring at him, silent lips accusing him, and he knew he was as guilty as if he had swung the sword that severed John’s head from his body.

Was it comforting or terrifying for Herod to believe that Jesus was the resurrected John? John had once indicted him for adultery. What would he accuse him of now? He knew he was a murderer and nothing could erase his guilt. His very conviction that John had come back was an admission of guilt but that brought him no relief.

One of the most comforting statements of Scripture is this: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” John 3:17. If only Herod had known that his desperate feeling of guilt was God’s merciful way of alerting him to his need of forgiveness. The very one who terrified him because he thought Jesus was John, was the one who could offer the forgiveness he craved, that could release him from his burden and give him peace.

This is the wonder and the miracle of the one who came from God to declare to the world that God is not angry with us. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not counting men’s sins against them.”  2 Corinthians 5:19.

Luella Campbell

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