I was thinking today about the rich witness of Herod, the Tetrarch’s life for us:
His power enables him to remain “on course” in his corrupt life even though he knows that the Baptist’s criticism is correct.
His adulterous relationship with his brother’s sexy wife prevents him from objecting to her request for John’s head.
And human respect for his guests, reinforces that entrapment.
Money (power), sex and “human respect”(reputation – prestige). There he is, hanging in his chains for all of us to see (and learn from).
Now, since his discussions with John while he was in prison didn’t open him up enough to the truth, he requests an “audience” with Jesus.
Here we can only wonder – what had he heard about Jesus’ works? Didn’t he have any agents who were assigned to keep an ear to the ground about what was going on in his kingdom? Wasn’t he in touch with the Pharisees? If none of that is true, then there isn’t much for us to learn from his stupid request to be shown a miracle. He’s a complete moron.
But no, Herod was a clever ruler/politician, as was Pilate. Caesar needed a crafty man to try and control the rebellious Jews so as to not have large numbers of his military forces tied up far from Rome. Pilate cleverly enlists Herod’s participation in the sticky business to try and get the pressure off of himself.
So here we see, clearly delineated, the fourth chain enslaving Herod – his pride in his ability to cleverly manipulate or be accepted by the other power brokers of his time.
And so, let us end with a final word of caution. God has provided us with these clear simple examples for our instruction. (Aren’t you sometimes embarrassed that He thinks we need them to be so obvious?). Because they are so obvious, there is the danger that we could overlook subtler manifestations of the same blinding enslaving influences in our lives.