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!” Mark 6, verses 14-16.
Folks believe some really crazy stuff. Have you ever considered that maybe some of it is real?
Consider these statements: alar on apples will poison you. Elvis eats lunch at a Burger King in Kalamazoo. A black man will never be elected president. If you play the Beatles’ White Album backwards, you hear messages from Satan. You can’t grow wine in Texas.
Which of those are true and which of them are flat out crazy? Truth is that all of them have been considered to be true by rational people not unlike ourselves. Some of those statements were true at one time but untrue now; some are just dumb or wacky (Elvis actually eats at KFC…). Folks believe some crazy stuff.
So is it implausible that there’s this Jewish king named Herod who executes this great prophet (named John the Baptist) and there are those who are saying John has come back from death? Put yourself in Herod’s shoes: do you believe it or not? Fact is, Herod didn’t really know what to believe. Mark’s Gospel hasn’t gotten that far yet into describing Herod’s story; don’t worry, we’ll get there soon.
But poor Herod didn’t know what to believe. He had John killed and now there are reliable sources – knowledgable people in whom Herod places his trust – who are telling him that John is back and bolder than ever. You and I know now that it was Jesus about whom these folks were talking, but poor Herod didn’t know any better.
When you don’t know any better, you can believe in some really crazy stuff. As we’ll see in the coming days, Herod was pretty nervous that his sins would come back to haunt him. What he didn’t realize was how crazy things would soon get and how haunted he might become because of it. Like I said, he didn’t know any better and the talk was just plain crazy.
So here’s a prayer to rock your world: I pray you don’t know any better. After all, it’s plum crazy to believe that there is this two thousand year old man named Jesus who said (and proved) that He was (and is) God. The government of his day (including Herod) had him murdered because He was a threat to their status quo. Two nights plus later this same Jesus comes back to life…and it turns out that He had promised to do exactly that. What’s more, this Jesus spends the next few fortnights meeting hundreds, maybe thousands, of people all of whom will swear that He’s alive and well…just like He said He would be.
Folks believe some crazy stuff. My hope for you is that you go a little crazy like that today. Stretch your belief and believe in something your brain tells you must be impossible. Now go have an apple, listen to some old Elvis music (or even the White Album, but forward please), and enjoy a glass of Texas wine this weekend.
Lord, help me to be crazy for You.
Read Mark 6, verses 14-29.