Whenever we hear the name Herod, we always have this conception of a wicked man. Herod portrays a person that is a dictator and evil at heart. It may surprise you that we have up to six Herod in the scriptures, and none of them evokes anything good.
Our emphasis today is on Herod Antipas. He is the one that killed John the Baptist. The mention of His name echoes wickedness and evil because of the part He played in the killing of John the Baptist.
Do you know there are also moments when we can also become like Herod? Let us have some little reflections:
1.When We No Longer Fear God.
When the news about a miracle worker whose name is Jesus reaches King Herod. Herod tells his servants that this man they hear about all the time must be John the Baptist, who may have risen from the dead.
It shows that Herod does not know much about Jesus and may not have close contact with Him. He lacks knowledge about Jesus Christ. Now what he does is only trying to guess who He is.
So, Herod is not sure about Jesus. He is telling the servants what his mind is telling him or what he heard about Jesus.
Hence, when we do not have close communion with the Lord, we may not be able to tell people exactly who Jesus is. We cannot talk about it from the heart. We talk only about what we hear or what our minds tell us.
Our sincere knowledge of God grows through our daily encounters with God. When you talk about God from a personal experience, you do it with conviction. You will no longer doubt Him because you have encountered His presence in many situations you find yourself in.
So, unlike Peter who says of Jesus “ you are the Christ, the son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), unlike Martha who says, “You are the Son of God ( John 11:27), unlike Thomas who exclaims, “My Lord and My God “ etc., Herod lacks true knowledge of who Jesus is, to the extent He attributes the source of His miracle to John the Baptist.
This reference to John the Baptist also indicates that Herod sees John the Baptist as a great man. He sees John as a man full of divine power. Therefore, knowing this and killing Him then is an indication that Herod has no fear of God.
Therefore, we become like Herod when our fear of God has gone into extinction. We become like Herod when there is no longer fear of the sacred in us.
It is when we sell our consciences to perpetrate evil. Therefore, when we willfully intimidate and oppress others without fear of God, we make ourselves Herod.
There are many Herods today in our communities, families, teachers, friends and people we work for.
In these people, what they always want to do is evil. In them, there is nothing like doing what God wants or what He does not want in them.
We also become Herod, when we lose that respect for the sacred, to the extent our conscience is unperturbed whenever we do evil.
2.When We try to Cover the Truth.
In today’s reading, Herod puts John in prison because John told him that it is not right for him to have Herodias, the wife of Philip as His wife.
John the Baptist did not commit any crime. The only crime He committed was that he told the truth.
We also become like Herod when we hide the truth. Hence, We make ourselves Herod when we turn the truth upside down and promote injustice because we want to promote our political and personal interests.
Also, when we become like Herod is when we oppress that poor man or woman because we think no one will speak for Him. In one way or the other, man has become a wolf to man.
When a president keeps quiet amidst the sufferings of the masses, He makes Himself a Herod.
When a governor keeps quiet, and the people He said He is governing die daily, His silence depicts his approval of the killings, therefore He makes Himself a Herod.
Also, when we only promote our selfish interests to the detriment of the common good, we make ourselves Herod.
Therefore, we become like Herod when we use our positions to hide the truth for the sake of our selfish interests.
We have also to note that despite that Herod wanted to hide the truth, yet even the truth he wants to hide is being read every day in the bible.
So, no one can hide the truth. You may do it for a short time but one day, what is covered will be laid bare. We have become like Herod to ourselves when we eat bribes and hide the truth.
3.When We Fear Human Beings More than God.
Today, the respect for God has gone into extinction. We fear those in power, we fear our fellow human beings, we even fear some people we work for and respect them, but when it comes to God, we do what we want.
Herod wanted to kill John but what kept Him was the fear of the people, just like the Pharisees who always fear the crowd. He also killed John the Baptist because he was afraid of what the people would say. Remember that he made the promise in public.
Hence, we become like Herod, when we put our fear on human beings rather than on Almighty God. This is when the reason we avoid the bad things we do is because of certain persons rather than God.
Our love and relationship with God should be our guide. It is doing things because God approves them or not doing them because God does not approve.
4.When Your Prestige Matters More Than the Salvation of Soul.
At last, the reason Herod also killed John the Baptist is because of the promise He made in front of the people.
The gospel says that He was displeased to do so, but because He had made this promise in the presence of His guests, He ordered the killing of John the Baptist.
Therefore, Herod killed John to save His prestige and honour. Herod does not care about the pains John would go through. He does not care even about the salvation of His Soul. He only wants to protect His prestige.
Therefore, when your prestige matters more to you, that you can go to any extent to keep it, and does not even care for the salvation of your soul, then you become like Herod.
Sometimes we are motivated by the quest for honour, prestige, lustful desires, name, political interests etc., to the extent we lose sight of God’s value. We do things only to protect our names, our possessions and relegate God to the background.
Sometimes many perpetrate evil in secret to keep up to their political, economic and financial status quo. Some people even go diabolical.
Whenever we uphold our interests over that of God to the extent of going into such extremes in our dealings, we make ourselves become like Herod.
5. When you compromise Your salvation because of Someone
What happened today may not be possible if not through Herodias. Because of Herodias, Herod compromises justice and truth. He compromises his salvation also.
So, whenever we begin to compromise the truth and justice because of pressure from someone or due to a personal interest we become like Herod.
Many people would have been so close to God today, if not that they are so attached to someone who constantly leads them astray.
Hence, when we care to compromise our salvation because of our attachment to someone, we also become like Herod.
Therefore, when we begin to compromise the right thing to do and do otherwise because of someone, to the extent we abandon our religious values, we make ourselves like Herod.
Let us always seek the mercy of God and allow love to lead in all we do. Things will become better.
May God have mercy on us and give us the grace to continually come close to Him. May He never allow you to stumble.