King Herod soon heard about Jesus, for his miracles were talked about everywhere. The king thought Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life again. So the people were saying, “No wonder he can do such miracles.” Others thought Jesus was Elijah the ancient prophet, now returned to life again; still others claimed he was a new prophet like the great ones of the past.
“No,” Herod said, “it is John, the man I beheaded. He has come back from the dead.”
Herod was a tetrarch—one of four rulers over the four districts of Palestine. His territory included the regions of Galilee and Perea. He was the son of Herod the Great, who ordered the killing of the babies in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). Also known as Herod Antipas, he heard Jesus’ case before Jesus’ crucifixion (Luke 23:6-12).
Christ’s True Identity
It was so difficult for the people to accept Jesus as the Son of God that they tried to come up with other solutions—most of which sound quite unbelievable to us. Many thought that he must be someone who had come back to life, perhaps John the Baptist or another prophet. Some suggested that he was Elijah, the great prophet who did not die but was taken to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:1-11). Very few found the correct answer, as Peter did (Luke 9:20).
Many people still find it difficult to accept Jesus as the fully human yet fully divine Son of God. People are still trying to find alternate explanations—a great prophet, a radical political leader, a self-deceived rabble-rouser. None of these explanations can account for Jesus’ miracles or, especially, his glorious resurrection—so these realities too have to be explained away.
In the end, the attempts to explain away Jesus are far more difficult to believe than the truth. People still have to make up their minds about Jesus. Some think that if they can name what he is—prophet, teacher, good man—they can weaken the power of his claim on their lives. But what they think does not change who Jesus is. Jesus is the God-man; he is God. Does he rule in your life?