King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
Once when I was at a Bible study group meeting, the leader in the course of our discussion asked how many people had met the Queen. Much to my surprise, almost everyone’s hands went up! My friend Katie, who I went with, and I kept our hands firmly down, however, neither of us having been fortunate enough to meet our monarch. Whether the Queen would actually know any of the members of my Bible study group by name would be another matter, however. I suspect that she might know one of them, but the rest probably not. If you were to meet the Queen and drop my name into the conversation, she certainly would not have the first idea who I was! Neither would the Prime Minister, or even my MP or local councilor. I’m relatively anonymous really – like the vast majority of people. It takes someone truly special to stand out.
Interestingly, Jesus appears to have been someone truly special. King Herod had heard of Jesus. In some ways, Jesus was simply one person, a small town carpenter, living under Herod’s jurisdiction. In that sense, there is absolutely no reason why Herod would have heard of Jesus. Herod had heard, however, about the amazing things that Jesus was doing. He had heard about his teaching. He had heard that he was healing the sick. He had heard that he was casting out demons. The fact that Jesus had come to the attention of the King shows just how much of a stir Jesus was causing. Here was clearly someone a little special.
Herod clearly wanted to know about Jesus. He had heard that lots of people were suggesting that Jesus was in fact John the Baptist come back from the dead, and this is in fact what he himself believed. He must have been rather worried, since it was he who had had John killed, on the whim of his wife, Herodias. He must have been concerned that he had come back to take revenge.
Of course, Herod did not understand at this stage who Jesus was. He was unclear on Jesus’ identity. Yet the fact that the King had heard about him shows the extent to which Jesus was arousing the attention of people in Galilee. Jesus has since aroused the attention of billions of people over the last two thousand years. He still arouses the attention of millions of people around the world today. Are you amongst their number? Have you given thought to who Jesus might be?