33. Herod desires to see Jesus
NOW Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus: and he was perplexed, because it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead. Herod himself had laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife: for John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.
And Herod had married her: and sent an executioner, and beheaded John in the prison. Herod said, John have I beheaded; but who is this of whom I hear such things?
And he desired to see Jesus. Jesus’ disciples went and told him [Jesus]. And he went over the sea of Galilee, by ship.
¶When the apostles were returned, and were gathered unto Jesus, they told all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught. Jesus said unto them.
Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.
He took his disciples, and went privately into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. He went up into a mountain, and there he sat with his disciples.
The people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot and outwent them, and came together unto him.
Scripture: Luke 9:7-9
Meditation 1 of 2:
Do you court favor with the powerful and the rich? Scripture warns us of such danger (see Proverbs 23:1-2). King Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to chastise Herod for his adulterous relationship. Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded. Now his conscience is pricked when he hears that some think that the Baptist has risen. Herod sought to see Jesus more out of curiosity and fear than out of a sincere desire to know God and his word. Whom do you seek to please? God’s grace frees us from the tyranny of fear and sin and enables us to reject what is wrong and to choose what is good. Do you allow his grace to fill you with faith and courage to speak what is true and to do what is right?
“Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in word and deed. Increase my eagerness to do your will and help me to know the saving power of your love.”
Meditation 2 of 2:
How do you treat those who make unexpected demands on you? When Jesus and the disciples sought a lonely place to regroup and rest, they found instead a crowd of more than five thousand people waiting for them! Did they resent this intrusion on their hard-earned need for privacy and refreshment? Jesus certainly didn’t but welcomed them with open-arms. Jesus put human need ahead of everything else. His compassion showed the depths of God’s love and concern for all who are truly needy. Jesus gave the people the word of God and he healed them physically as well as spiritually. We can never intrude upon God nor exhaust his generosity and kindness. He is ever ready to give to those who earnestly seek him out. Do you thirst for his saving word and for his healing power?
Why did Jesus command his disciples to do what seemed impossible– to feed such a large and hungry crowd when there were no adequate provisions in sight? Jesus, no doubt wanted to test their faith and to teach them to rely upon God for their provision. The signs which Jesus did, including the miraculous feeding of the five thousand signified that God the Father had indeed sent his only begotten Son as the anointed Prophet and King for his people. Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand is the only miracle recorded in all four gospels. What is the significance of this miracle? The miraculous feeding of such a great multitude pointed to God’s provision of manna in the wilderness for the people of Israel under Moses’ leadership. This food foreshadowed the true heavenly bread which Jesus would offer his followers. Jesus makes a claim only God can make: He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience. The feeding of the five thousand shows the remarkable generosity of God and his great kindness towards us. When God gives, he gives abundantly. He gives more than we need for ourselves that we may have something to share with others, especially those who lack what they need. God takes the little we have and multiplies it for the good of others. Do you trust in God’s provision for you and do you share freely with others, especially those who lack?
“Lord, you satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts and you feed us with the finest of wheat (Ps 81:16). Fill me with gratitude and give me a generous heart that I may freely share with others what you have given to me.”