7 Now Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, 8 by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. 9 Herod said, “John I beheaded; but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he tried to see him.
Herod was the embodiment of the imperialist forces during the time of Jesus. We need to see Herod as an ideology and not as a person. Beyond the individual headship, we can map this as an ideology that is quite opposite to the rule of the people. During Jesus' time, four monarchs ruled the region, and the people were divided. The vassal kings became the puppets of the empire and lost their call to rule the people with truth and justice; they harassed people for taxes and ruled the subjects in an inhuman way. They failed to obey God or love people.
We all believe in democracy because we conduct ourselves with moral imperatives and legal obligations which brings everyone under one law. Law becomes the center of any decent community because it gives clarity for us to move forward. Every democratic country is ruled by the law of the nations and not by whims and fancies of any individual. The social and political contract in a democratic state has a checks and balances system.
During Jesus' time, the legislature, executive and judiciary were all founded by a monarch. Jesus' movement was a democratic movement based on a people-centric society, grounded in the ultimate standards of the divine where everyone is equal and free. In Chapter 8, we were able to see two important miracles at the end of the chapter. The text elucidates two miracles of Jesus; a woman who was suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years was healed, and a dead girl was restored back to life. The basic motif of both the miracles does not highlight the miraculous power of Jesus, but rather the redemptive activity of Christ against the powers of death which sub judicates the people, the vulnerables at risk.
The very purpose of Jesus coming is to restore the humanity in its wholeness. He offers abundance for all in God. When Herod heard about the acts of God under his
jurisdiction, he was perplexed because the acts of God shatter the very foundation of individualistic ideologies and perverted operations in human dynamics.
The day to day operations in God’s realm are grounded in one philosophy called love for the other. We can love others only when we love ourselves as the created beings of God with the true image of God. Discovering our image in God and the image of God in us is the call of this text because Herod was wandering in his mind to see Jesus. Jesus reflected the God of life in all his words and deeds without any compromise. A compassionate and justful gesture was real in him, and he evaded from all ostentatious activities. He was genuine to God and the people and unfolded the true path for life.
The quest of Herod seems to be genuine, but the guilt never directed him to restore life but rather to operate his power for his selfish desires. This complexity failed him to understand God.
God in Christ was engaging in restoring life for all under the one reign, the rule of Christ which unites all, liberates all and offers a new life centered in them Love of Christ, helping one another to cope up with the challenges of life. May God help us to identify the image of God in us to imitate Jesus in our living context to glorify the name of God.
God Bless these Words. Amen