Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sometimes when I’m reading the scriptures, verses seem to be “out of place”.  In Luke 9:1-6 Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them “power and authority over all demons and power to heal diseases.  Then He sent them to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”  They obeyed by “proclaiming the good news and healing everywhere”.  Four verses later, they reported back to Jesus - later that day, Jesus fed the 5,000 with the five loaves and two fishes. 

But sandwiched in between those verses is the following:

v.7-9   Herod, the tetrarch heard about everything that was going on.  He was perplexed, because some had said that John had been raised from the dead…”I beheaded John,” Herod said, “but who is this I hear such things about?”  And he wanted to see Him (Jesus).

So, why did Luke choose to make mention of Herod right here in between this account?  I don’t think it was a mistake.  After all, Luke was writing under the inspiration of the Almighty.  Perhaps we are to consider our own “summons” by Christ.  He has called us, just as He called His twelve disciples to “proclaim the Kingdom of God” wherever we go.  We must remember that everywhere we go, there may be people just like Herod, who are “perplexed” about what is going on in the world – people who really want to “see” Jesus.

The word “perplexed” means “filled with uncertainty…bewildered, confused, disconcerted, baffled, confounded – full of difficulty”.  How could the good news of the gospel and healings cause someone to be perplexed?  In Herod’s case, he thought he had destroyed that “repentance message” by destroying John the Baptist.  After all, his message was “repent, and be baptized”.  Maybe Herod thought his guilty conscience over his own sin would be erased when he got rid of the “cause”.  But the call to repentance continued to resonate even as Jesus’ disciples proclaimed the Kingdom and healed the sick.

Even on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:12 tell us that all of the people from every nation who heard the disciples speaking in tongues by the Spirit of God in their own language, “were astounded and perplexed”.  That day, Peter stood before them and preached a message of the Kingdom with power and authority.  The people’s hearts were pierced and asked “what must we do?”   Peter told them in Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. That day, 3,000 people were saved and “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, and to the breaking of bread, and to prayers”. 

Repentance – a must if we want to follow Christ. 

Even Herod got his chance.  In Luke 22, Pilate passed Jesus off to Herod just before His crucifixion.  v. 8 tells us that “Herod was very glad to see Jesus; for a long time he had wanted to see Him, because he had heard about Him and was hoping to see some miracle performed by Him.”  Herod kept asking Jesus questions, but He did not answer.  Neither did He perform a miracle.  Jesus’ silence revealed Herod’s hardened heart.   Herod only wanted to see the miracles – he did not want to repent of his sins.  “Then Herod, with his soldiers, treated Him with contempt, mocked Him…”

Two examples of people who were perplexed, confused, baffled, confounded…3,000 repented.  One did not. 

We must call the world to the Cross of Christ through faith and repentance.   When we are obedient to Christ’s commission to preach the Kingdom, we may encounter some “Herods” along the way.  The Holy Spirit may keep us “silent” so that He might do a greater work.  He may also give us boldness to preach to crowds as Peter did.

So, I guess I am no longer “perplexed” with a scripture that seems out of place – It’s right where it belongs!

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