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Herod’s opinion of Jesus

Gospel reading: Lk 9:7-9
Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”; others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has arisen.” But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.

REFLECTION
Herod… was greatly perplexed
While the Twelve are away on a mission and are busy preaching and healing, Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee, is asking questions about the identity of the prophet from Galilee. The Gospel relates that he has beheaded John because John condemned his union with Herodias, his brother’s wife. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus relates that since John had attracted many followers and were ready to do his bidding, Herod nipped future trouble in the bud by having John executed.

While Herod may not suspect that Jesus is a new John the Baptist or a new Elijah, he keeps trying to see Jesus because a prophet is always a “disturber of Israel” for rulers like him. He wants to get rid of Jesus as he has killed John.

This plan will be evident even to the Pharisees who will warn Jesus, “Go away, leave this area because Herod wants to kill you” (Lk 13:31). Jesus will send a message to the “fox” that no threat will prevent him from continuing his mission of casting out demons and performing healing. It is God who guides his “purpose,” and no amount of Herod’s threat can sway him from the path – not even the prospect of undergoing a prophet’s “fate” in Jerusalem.
Who then is this Jesus?

How will you answer Herod’s question?

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