Herod is a man who lived by manipulation, force, coercion. He desperately wanted to be loved. He worked at rebuilding the temple to curry favor from the Jews. He went to great lengths to please his wife. Guilt and self-doubt filled Herod. When he hears stories of Jesus, he feared that John the Baptist had returned to judge him again.
Herod did not understand the world that John, and later Jesus, was trying to bring about. Both John and Jesus experienced rejection and death because the rulers of the day would not hear their message of justice, peace, and love. Both men willingly died to challenge the way the world was operating. Both sought to bring the world shalom – the well-being of all, justice for all, equality for all people in all situations, and the blessings of God’s love, mercy, and grace.
In the world today I see people like Herod – driven by self-interests and greed. Their priorities are far from those Jesus taught and died for. In the world today I see many people who lack peace, justice, the basic necessities of life – things Jesus strove to bring to all people. In the world today I see people who are suffering injustices and oppression – both in my hometown and throughout the world.
The question I must ask – the question all Christians must ask – is: what I am willing to do to bring this shalom to others? It is a hard question. But it is a question all Christians must not only wrestle with but one we must answer with how we live our lives.
Scripture reference: Mark 6: 14-16