Jesus’ name had spread throughout Galilee and had even reached the ears of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. But the people of His own town despised and rejected Him. When Herod heard about Jesus’ great power, he believed that Jesus was John risen from the dead. Herod, an instrument of evil, not only killed John the Baptist but also later plotted to kill Jesus (Lk 13:31).
Did You Know...?
- Herod the Tetrarch (14:1) bore the distinctive name of Antipas. He was Herod’s younger son by Malthace, and inherited the Galilaean and Perean portions of his father’s kingdom…He was the ablest of Herod’s sons, and like his father was a great builder; the city of Tiberias on the Lake of Galilee was built by him (AD 22) and named in honor of the Emperor Tiberius. He married the daughter of the Nabataean king Aretas IV (q.v.), but divorced her in order to marry Herodias (q.v.), the wife of his half-brother Herod Philip. [ref]
- Herodias (14:3) was married to Herod Philip (not Philip the tetrarch, Luke 3:1), son of Herod the Great and Mariamme II…and therefore half-brother to Herod Antipas…Herodias was not only Antipas’ sister in-law but also his niece, the daughter of his half-brother Aristobulus. [ref]
- God’s law forbids marrying one’s brothers’ wife (Lev 18:16; 20:21).
- The daughter of Herodias (14:6): Herodias’ daughter by her former marriage, Salome, a girl between twelve and fourteen years of age…The dance may have been very sensual, but the text does not say so. The outrageous morals of the Herodians suggest it, as does the low status of dancing girls. [ref]
- Rejected by His Own People (13:54-58)
- Herod’s Understanding of Jesus (14:1-2)
- Death of John the Baptist (14:3-12)
- Imprisoning John and intention to kill him (14:3-5)
- John beheaded by the request of Herodias’ daughter (14:6-11)
- Burial of John’s body and report to Jesus (14:12)
Why were the people of Jesus’ town offended at Jesus?Hide Answer
They only looked at Jesus’ humble origin and common background. They thought they knew Jesus, but they didn’t truly know Him. Instead of believing Jesus because of His wisdom and great power, they were blinded by their false expectation that a true prophet must come from an extraordinary background (cf. 11:1-6).
In what ways are many people of today also offended at Jesus?
Is your faith in the Lord sometimes weakened because you think you know Him too well?Hide Answer
Sometimes we take pride in the fact that we are zealous Christians, and that we know the Bible all too well and are close to the Lord. We may think that we have heard it all and seen it all. In our presumption, we may not pay as much attention to the admonitions and teachings of the Bible or have the eager desire to know him more (cf. Eph 1:17).
How do we sometimes make the same mistake in our judgment of others?
How did the people of Jesus’ town show their lack of faith?Hide Answer
They did not believe him to be the Messiah nor honor him as Lord.
Why is faith necessary in order for the Lord to work in our lives (58)?Hide Answer
It would be of little value for the Lord to work in those who do not believe in him. All of God’s works, including miracles, become only spectacles if we do not receive them with faith. Miracles and signs help to strengthen our faith, but it is true faith in the Lord that saves. See Lesson 13, question 5.
Imagine how Herod must have felt when he commented that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead. Do you think he sincerely wanted to believe in Jesus? Explain.Hide Answer
He was probably in great fear. Perhaps he was afraid of retaliation or potential woe that might befall him because of his sinful act.
What does this passage tell you about Herod’s character?Hide Answer
He was a timid man. He always cared about what others think of him and tried to please everyone (3,5,9). He was also afraid to change himself even though he knew what he did was wrong.
Do you see some of his character in yourself? What can you do about it?Hide Answer
To overcome the weakness of trying to please everyone even when we know that doing so would involve a wrongful act, we must first realize that we have to ultimately answer to God, not to men (1Cor 4:3-5).
Why did Herod want to kill John? Why is it that people who live in sin, such as Herod and Herodias, want to remove a righteous man such as John?Hide Answer
Herod was living in sin. Instead of repenting and changing his ways, he and Herodias wanted to kill John so as to remove their feeling of guilt.
How does Herod’s and Herodias’ attitude reflect the heart of many people who do not want to accept the gospel or even slander it?Hide Answer
People hate the light because their deeds are evil (Jn 3:19,20). Many people today refuse to come to Christ not because they do not understand the truth, but that they are unwilling to acknowledge their sin and leave their lives of sin.
What mistake did Herod make that led to John’s tragic death? What does it teach us?Hide Answer
6. In his pleasure, he made a hasty promise which he later regretted. Too much pleasure can take away our sobriety and make us unfit to make wise judgments (Prov 31:3,4; Eph 5:18; Lk 21:34). We must also be careful not to make vows too hastily or speak proud words when things are smooth; we may regret the consequences.
How is John an example for us in his sufferings and death?Hide Answer
John the Baptist suffered and died for righteousness’ sake (cf. 5:11,12). He was a man of courage who pointed out the wrongs of Herod even though he knew that Herod was a cruel ruler. As we preach the truth for Christ, we will often offend those who live in sin. But for the sake of accomplishing God’s will and out of our love for others, we must continue to stand up against wickedness and speak for the Lord.