Luke 9:7-9 NRSVue
7Now Herod the ruler heard about all that had taken place, and he was perplexed because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, 8by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. 9Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he tried to see him.
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Some thoughts on this scripture
Herod appears as the politician with an eye to publicity, who does not want to miss out on contact with somebody who is making news. Jesus was talked about, so Herod had to see him. See him, with the eye of a curious spectator, but not involve himself. Remember Karl Barth: /To understand the scriptures we must stop acting like mere spectators/. God's word demands that we engage our lives with him.
Somehow Herod wanted to see Jesus. He would try a few times in the course of the public ministry of Jesus. Was it to argue? Listen? Get rid of him? Maybe a mixture,. But certainly the last. In prayer we want to 'see' Jesus; to know what he is like, to know the love he gathers around him, and to be changed by him. Seeing Jesus means being willing to live forever with what we 'see'.
/Herod tried to see Jesus/. This desire was not the openness to God's revelation, but rather the idle curiosity that he was to show during Jesus' passion, seeing Jesus as a spectacle, a passing amusement, but with a hint of fear that he may be facing a greater power than he had reckoned.
Lord, if my religion is just a curiosity or news item, I am better off without it. I long to see you with openness. I desire to come close to you.
For good or bad reasons, people are interested in Jesus. Herod wondered about him and eventually did see him, at the time of his passion. But his lifestyle made any meeting with Jesus a mockery. Jesus knew this and was genuinely scared when he knew Herod was around. The one who beheaded John the Baptist would help send Jesus to his death.