October 12 – Thursday of the Nineteenth Week after Pentecost (4th of Luke) Luke 9:7-11
The Lord Who Shows Us Light, continued – Visible to Faith: Luke 9:7-11, especially vs. 7: “Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him; and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had risen from the dead.” When the Lord Jesus stills the storm, the disciples ask, “Who can this be?” (vs. 8:25). When Herod hears of “all that was done” by Christ (vs. 9:7), he wonders, “Who is this of whom I hear such things?” (vs. 9).
For Herod, Jesus remains an enigma until He is arraigned before him. Then, at long last, Herod has an opportunity to satisfy his curiosity, for “he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him” (vs. 23:8).
According to Blessed Theophylact the disciples, unlike Herod, “were not asking a question to which they did not know the answer. Rather, they exclaimed it in wonderment and astonishment.” Christ, unknown in other ages, is “revealed by the Spirit to His holy Apostles and Prophets” (Eph 3:5), by a “dispensation of the grace of God” (vs. 2). The Lord Jesus shows us light, and to faith He remains visible.
Herod wants to see Jesus because he has heard about Him. While rumor and hearsay may evoke our curiosity and desire to learn about someone, questions about the Lord Jesus lead only to speculation, which is Herod’s experience. Herod’s guilt very likely led him to theorize that the Lord Jesus might be the same John whom he had beheaded at the behest of his wife (Lk 9:7; Mk 6:14-29).
Herod also wonders if Jesus might be the Prophet Elijah, forerunner of the Messiah (Lk 9:8; Mal 4:5). Or, perhaps He may be the prophet whose coming Moses had foretold (Lk 9:8; Dt 18:15-18). Content with his speculation, Herod enjoys life in his palace.
Contrast his story with the case of a fireman who became curious about Christianity after fighting a fire at a local church. He was puzzled how God could permit a fire in one of His temples. He began to attend services and eventually found God. Like the Apostle Nathanael, the fireman moved beyond speculation when he met the Lord Jesus for himself (Jn. 1:46,47). The kind of sight which faith produces comes through our encounter with the living Lord.
Saint Luke and the other evangelists take us a step further when they teach that such an encounter, while necessary, is not in itself what leads us to see “the true Light.” The Lord Jesus reveals that seeing God belongs only to “the pure in heart” (Mt 5:8) – those whose egos are so broken through purification, repentance, and poverty that God can reveal Himself to them.
Herod the Great, the father of the speculative tetrarch Herod, had like his son a special desire to see Jesus. However, his reasons were far more sinister (Mt 2:8, 16). He sought the Lord diligently, but he did not see Him (Mt 2:20).
We meet a wealthy official in the Roman treasury who is determined to see Jesus when He visits Jericho. This man exerts great personal energy. As a result, he meets the Lord in a way that neither Herod the Great nor his son were privileged to do (Lk 19:3-6). Why does Zacchaeus see Christ while the two monarchs do not? His meeting with the Lord reflects the attitude of his heart, for the Lord discloses Himself to open hearts that seek Him in faith.
Many people seek an encounter with the Lord, yet with wrong motives. Early in the Lord’s ministry, a crowd “tried to keep Him from leaving them” (vs. 4:42), but failed. The Lord readily commits Himself to the earnest in heart. May we join those multitudes who seek the Lord, receive His teaching, and find the healing for which they long (vs. 9:11).
Help me to seek Thee with my whole heart, O Lord, that I may be found by Thee.