King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.” But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
Life can be confusing.
With all the different opinions, all the different sources of input, coming from all different parts of the world, it’s no wonder that our lives are fractured into a million pieces. Everyone has an opinion about everything today, and they feel not only that they have the right to express it, but they have no doubts about the rightness of their perspective.
I don’t know about you, but I’m connected with people around the world through many different Internet platforms. So, when I post something, it gets read and interpreted many different ways based on their backgrounds, upbringing, education, and geography.
And since almost everyone believes that there is no truth, there is nothing we can agree on to evaluate and judge whether something is right or wrong. All we can do is yell at one another. This can make us frustrated, angry, or just plain give up.
The same is always true when it comes to Jesus and who he is. There has been and forever will be differing opinions about who he is. And we see this in Herod’s life.
He hears about all the things that Jesus is doing, what he is responsible for, and what people conclude about him. After taking all this in, he concludes that Jesus must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. Quite a leap of faith for a guy who basically denied faith.
I’ve gotta believe that this caused him to feel guilty. It had to reminded him about what he did John the Baptist. You may have a similar reaction to Jesus: he makes you feel guilty.
No matter your background: his life, his words, his actions, are undeniably superior to our own. He’s living on a different plane of existence. He doesn’t seem to bend to the opinions of others. He has a rocklike internal strength that sustains him when accused or even threatened with death by stoning. He can stand up against temptations from the very personification of evil.
We look at him and then meekly compare ourselves. We’re lacking in moral strength, dedication to truth and justice. We’re not willing to stand up against the crowd no matter what. We fold like a house of cards at the gentlest breath of criticism. We’re drawn so easily by the magnetism of temptation that we cannot keep our moral compass, our “true north.” When it comes to what is right and wrong. We’ve flopped around, being pushed, and pulled by the opinions of the day. The tide of society and criticism moves us as we drift along, without any anchor of truth.
Herod does some very interesting and creative mathematics. He takes one plus one and comes up with 27. He makes a leap of uninformed faith that because he beheaded John the Baptizer, that John is not only raised from the dead, but has unimaginable power and authority.
It’s amazing what people will believe, especially when they’re guilty and confused. It was true back then and it is just as true today. Just look at these statistics.
About one fourth of the adults with current guilt feelings rated the intensity of their feelings as ‘rather strong’ or ‘very strong’. To feel guilty was unrelated to age, sex and education, but significantly associated with depression.
King Herod didn’t know what to do with his guilt, so he let it influence and change every part of his life. We have the same problem today: we have guilt, so what are we going to do with it?
The only person who can eliminate and heal guilt is the one we have hurt. And while we do hurt other people, it ultimately is against God and can only be cured by him.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
God is the only one who can rightly and fully answer the guilt question. And he did this once-and-for-all when Jesus died on the cross.
He did the paying. Our response is the receiving. He provided the living water to wash away our sin. We must receive it, walk under it, and let him cleans us.
 Feelings of guilt in the general adult population: prevalence, intensity and association with depression, By Tobias Luck & Claudia Luck-Sikorski