Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him." (Matthew 14:1-2)
This is surely an example of what Jesus meant when he said, "[T]he children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light" (Luke 16:8). I don't think He was saying that the lost have a corner on wisdom, because any insight they may have does not outlive them. In other words, it's not enough to get them (or anyone else) to Heaven. They do, however, often pick up on things that should be obvious to Christians but are not always, because they may be more interested in "hidden meanings" than plain truths.
Herod took for granted something that the disciples in Mark 9:10 had trouble getting their minds around: resurrection. These good men who followed Jesus, questioned among themselves "what the rising from the dead should mean." In fact, it was not they, but women, who were there at Jesus' tomb on Resurrection morning. Yet here in our text, Herod's first thought when he heard about Jesus was, "This is John the Baptist, raised from the dead." As I say, while the disciples were thinking their deep thoughts about the "meaning" of the idea of a resurrection, an unmitigated child of this world saw it as an established possibility.
Here is where I'm really headed, though. Herod expected someone who has experienced a resurrection to display "mighty works." He took it for granted. Do we? Paul says plainly in Romans 6:4, "...like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life." When a man or woman experiences the New Birth, and participation in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it makes a difference. Oh, we may not walk on water, but it surely should make us walk a straight line, morally; we may not be able to restore sight to the blind, but we ought to be able to share the light of the Gospel; and if we are not called upon to cast out devils, we, nevertheless, should have the power to overcome Satan in our own lives. If none of these things are manifested, either we have never been resurrected; or else we, like Lazarus, need to shed our grave clothes and appropriate our new life in Christ.
One way or the other, one thing is for sure. "The children of this world" are expecting something.