Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen.
Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him.
This little side anecdote gives us a glimpse of 1st century political culture, doesn’t it? Herod the tetrarch was confused and scared about the stories he had heard, so he made some crazy assumptions. He had tried to see Jesus, and Jesus heard about it, but Jesus wouldn’t have it.
Think about that through for a minute. Jesus didn’t try to explain Himself to someone as powerful as Herod the tetrarch. As far as we know, Jesus only made about two comments against Herod. One was when He was talking about John the Baptist and made the “Men in fine clothes are in king’s palaces” joke. The other time comes later when He calls Herod a “fox.”
We don’t have a good cultural equivalent to a fox in our language today. Maybe “weasel” or “rat” except people have pet rats. Definitely “weasel.”
But Herod divorced his wife! Jesus didn’t preach against him for that. But Herod married his niece who was also his sister-in-law! That’s messed up, but Jesus didn’t preach against him for that.
These are all things that John the Baptist may have preached against, but Jesus didn’t go there.
Even at the end, when Pilate sent Jesus to Herod for questioning, Jesus didn’t answer any of Herod’s accusations or questions.
It makes you wonder what Jesus was up to, right? He was a leading Rabbi who had all kinds of influence. Why wouldn’t He tell everyone about their politics and tell them the truth about their political leaders?
That just wasn’t a priority of Jesus’ ministry. That wasn’t the way He worked or the mission He felt called to fulfill.
As the political climate gets more stinky in the next few weeks, let’s remember how Jesus handled political attacks against Himself. Look at how He handled His open opportunity to criticize or correct others.
His actions and His teachings always traveled in a well-connected message that the Kingdom of Heaven had come. Our sins were being forgiven and the gates of Hell wouldn’t stand against it.
Jesus didn’t come to be a political leader. He came to be the Savior King that we all need.