Wednesday, November 4, 2009

11/5- Herod's Guilt and John's Testimony

(Herod and John-Reubens)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

11/5/09 (MARK 6:14-16; MATTHEW 14:1-2; LUKE 9:7-9)

14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus' name had become well known. Some were saying, [c] "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
15 Others said, "He is Elijah."
And still others claimed, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago."
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!"

Calvin abridged: The name of Christ was universally spread so that no one can use the excuse that they hadn’t heard of him. Otherwise some may ask “Why did Judea continue to be in a sleep-state when Christ came as if he had drawn into a corner?” But the evangelists state that people were talking of him even in the courts of Herod. “John the Baptist has been raised”- This was not of Herod’s own thinking, but it was suggested to him by what he had heard among the people. Perhaps the hatred of the tyrant caused the rumors to begin out of superstition. His gifts compared to that of the prophets. The passage in Malachi made people think of Elijah. But it was not really Elijah, but someone comparing to Elijah. The people are compelled by Jesus’ miracles to acknowledge some divine power belongs to him, and yet they fancy that he was another person. “Miraculous powers”- John performed no miraculous powers that we know of. They thought that John was doing miracles for the first time. The miracles make it evident that God is with Him, and he gives greater authority.

Thought: Guilt can cloud our reason, and make us have illusions- (like MacBeth’s spots). Herod’s guilt made him feel John was sent back to torture him. He had beheaded John to save face, but instead he lost his conscience. Today many feel guilt, but have no idea how to get rid of it. “ The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” is what John called Jesus (Jn. 1:29). If Herod had heard John’s testimony instead of being enthralled with Jesus’ powers, and killing John, he and the world would have been saner. Guilt makes us superstitiously fearful (as Herod was afraid God would raise John). But Jesus offers forgiveness to those who believe and repent.

Thoughts: Today, Lord, help us to live with clear consciences before you and others.

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