We see King Herod, who was fond of John the Baptist and kept him safe, but he broke the law of Moses by marrying Herodias, his brother’s wife and his niece. John the Baptist calls him out. Through the scripture today, we need to clear up our misunderstanding regarding sin, and what sin does to the people of God. We misunderstand that as children of God, we are free to do whatever we wish, but we can see in King Herod that sin becomes a stumbling block and prevents God from using us. God gave perfect means of navigating our walk of faith in his word, which we can apply in every situation. However, many Christians feel lost because they misunderstand sin and God’s word. We are freed, yes, but not to live however we wish. Salvation awakens our consciousness to discern between good and bad, but Christians pick and choose between what to follow from God’s word. As we look at Herod’s life, let’s reflect on our lives together.
1. How do we understand sin and have victory over it?
John the Baptist tells Herod that he is sinning by marrying Herodias. To understand sin, we have to discern between legalism and the gospel. Herod was in a state of spiritual death, was an enemy of God, and in opposition of the gospel. King Herod’s grandfather had issued the decree to kill all the newborns when Jesus was born and his grandson was struck dead by God when he praised himself. Sin is the state of being apart from God. King Herod had some consciousness to recognize he has done wrong but because he is spiritually dead, he cannot change himself. Therefore, King Herod is fearful of John the Baptist’s spirit having returned in today’s scripture reading. We were dead to sin but now are alive in Christ. When you love someone, you can’t help but change. If we really love God and are spiritually revived, we have no choice but to change ourselves to live for God’s word. To become remnants that God can use to save our generation, we need to change our standard to the gospel.
Let’s ask ourselves: Are we alive to sin and dead to Christ? OR dead to sin and alive to Christ? The more we turn a blind eye to sin, we lose hold of the blessings that God wants to pour on to us.
2. How does Satan work and how can we overcome him?
Satan knows our greatest weaknesses and vulnerabilities and uses them against us to prevent us from enjoying Christ. There is evidence of Herod’s consciousness, in his fear and his willingness to listen to John the Baptist, even while knowing he is sinning. However, he never changes. Satan works in the same way. We are moved by God’s word when we hear it but it ends there. Nothing changes. We need to let God’s word change our lives, but Satan does everything to block it. Instead, we make every excuse to justify our actions. Herodias hates John the Baptist for calling out their sin and so she plots to kill him. We can see in the scripture that Satan uses the things we love the most to tempt us. Herod’s vulnerability was how much he loved women. Satan uses the things we love to imprison us, making us blind to the suffering it causes. As Christians, we instead try to compromise by trying to keep both but we can’t. We lost out on all of God’s blessings and his plan. Herod is tempted by Satan and is eventually trapped, and forced in a position where he cannot save John the Baptist even when he wanted to. Let’s live a life that pleases God because that is how we can live with the fullness of life and satisfaction.
3. Let us correctly know who Christ is and what he has done for us.
King Herod becomes completely numb, and when Jesus comes before him in Luke chapter 23, he ridicules Jesus and turns away from him. When Jesus died for us, he did not just free us from sin but from its power. John the Baptist’s life was simple. He was a voice in the wilderness preparing the way for Jesus, who is the only way for us. When we were saved, we were freed to live our lives for God’s glory.
Sin has no power over us anymore. Instead, God’s grace reigns over us. When we say “only Jesus” means holding on to the word of God and worship, when our souls are revived.
Reflect upon your life. Is there anything in my life that is contrary to God? Identify these things and bring them up in prayer to God, so that we may become spiritually awakened, and cleared of the numbness we feel to sin,