Last week, at the end of chapter 13, we saw how the people at Nazareth were offended by Jesus’ miracles. Today, we find that Herod is offended by John the Baptist’s statement of truth.
1) Positively, Herod recognises and believes in miracles and even resurrection from the dead (v1-2), but this does not make him a follower of Jesus. What we believe is important, but if this does not lead to repentance (a change in our attitudes to be submissive to God), our belief is in vain.
2) Herod is criticised by John the Baptist for taking his brother’s wife, Herodias, as his own (v3-5). Rather than repent, Herod responds with hatred and a desire to get rid of John. Correct receipt of criticism requires humility: firstly to consider if it is valid, and secondly, if it is valid, to change. It would seem that Herod considered his relationship with Herodias to be more important than his relationship with God, and so his belief in truth had no application in his life. Academic assent, but atheistic action.
How do we respond to criticism? Do we reject the messenger, or in humility reflect for what is true? May our hearts and minds be continually open to the correction of the Holy Spirit through His Word, and may that result in transformation within us which flows out from us.
With much blessing,