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Luke 9: 7-9 – Week 25 Ordinary Time, Thursday (King James Audio Bible KJV, Spoken Word)

7 ¶ Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;
8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again.
9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

The Jews of Jesus’ time hold varying and confused views as to the resurrection of the dead, indeed the Sadducees denying resurrection. The concept of the immortal soul had developed through time. It was with Christ that we attained full and perfect knowledge of the soul’s immortality and of the life to come.

As Jesus proceeds in his ministry, we are alerted to the threats surrounding him. Herod has taken note – this particular Herod being Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, the latter of whom governed at the time of the birth of Jesus. Herod murdered John the Baptist; he would be perfectly capable of murdering Jesus. But he is confused. He wants to know who Jesus is.

This question of Jesus’ true identity is at the heart of the Gospels. The Gospels are a revelation of who Jesus is. We who have received the good news have full confidence in knowing Jesus as God the Son. Those of Jesus’ own time sought to understand the extraordinary events of Jesus’ life in terms of such knowledge and understandings they already possessed. People, for example, believed that such powers evinced by Jesus would be the prerogative of one who had risen from the dead. Similarly it was commonly believed that Elijah or some other prophet would appear again.

There is then, in this moment of the Gospels, a sense of keen disturbance. This ties in with a process of recognition. It also tends toward Christ’s great sacrifice of himself on the cross, and the intentional progress to that end. We are reminded that Jesus’ movement toward the cross was a tremendous event which at the time sent great shockwaves through Israel/Jerusalem. When Christianity began, it was by no means secret.

Concluding Prayer | Love Revealed By Jesus Christ

Lord, in answer to our prayer
give us patience in suffering hardships
after the example of your Only-begotten Son,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

King James Audio Bible KJV | King James Version | Endnotes

See also: Who Were The Different Kings Herod? | Bible Stories Disentangled

Who Was Herod The Tetrarch

Herod the Tetrarch is mentioned several times in the Gospels, and his actions had far-reaching consequences. Luke 9:7-9 provides a glimpse into the character and power of this ruler.

The passage states: ‘Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.’

Herod was the son of Herod the Great, who ruled over Judea during the time of Jesus’ birth. Herod the Tetrarch, also known as Herod Antipas, ruled over Galilee and Perea from 4 BC to AD 39. He was a ruthless and cunning ruler, known for his cruelty and immorality.

In the passage from Luke, Herod is shown to be troubled by reports of Jesus’ miracles and teachings. He is especially concerned because some people are saying that Jesus is John the Baptist, whom Herod had beheaded. This shows that Herod was aware of the power of John’s ministry and the impact it had on the people.

The Gospel of Mark tells us that Herod had John the Baptist arrested and beheaded, after being pressured to do so by his wife Herodias. This act of violence was seen as a direct challenge to John’s preaching of repentance and the coming of the Messiah.

Herod’s desire to see Jesus may have been driven by curiosity, or it may have been an attempt to assert authority over this new religious movement. Whatever his motives, Herod’s actions would have far-reaching consequences.

The Old Testament provides a context for Herod’s actions. The prophet Jeremiah had warned the Jewish people about the dangers of relying on human rulers for their salvation. In Jeremiah 17:5-6, the prophet writes: ‘Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.’

Herod’s reign was a reminder of the dangers of putting too much trust in human rulers. His attempts to maintain his power through violence and cruelty were ultimately futile, and his name is now synonymous with tyranny and oppression.

Christians throughout the ages have offered different interpretations of Herod’s actions and their significance. Some have seen him as a tragic figure, driven by a desire for power that ultimately consumed him. Others have viewed him as a symbol of the corrupting influence of power and the dangers of putting too much trust in human leaders.

Catholic theologians have reflected on the story of Herod in light of the Church’s teachings on social justice and the common good. The Compendium Of The Social Doctrine Of The Church states: ‘The Church proclaims the rights of man, and she acknowledges and teaches the duties of men to respect these rights and to fulfill their responsibilities to the common good. The Church proclaims the value of every human person and the dignity of human life, and she calls on rulers and governments to protect and promote these values.’

Protestant theologians have offered interpretations of Herod’s story. John Calvin, in his Commentary On Matthew, wrote: ‘The whole history of Herod is a proof of the instability of earthly glory, and of the certainty with which God takes vengeance on wicked men.’

Pope Francis in his encyclical Laudato Si wrote: ‘The worship of the ancient golden calf has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose.’