I was once watching a show called Undercover Boss.  The point of the show was that the CEO of a large company would spend a week working entry level jobs within the company without anyone knowing who he was.  Of course this set up for some very funny moments.  For example, one CEO was fired on his first day and told that he just couldn’t cut it in that business.  Many times, you almost felt embarrassed for the people.  They would say things about the corporate office and you just knew that at the end of the show they would find out who they were talking to.  At some point, they would realize that this was not just some new hire, this was the boss; this was their boss’ boss’ boss…or even higher they were talking down to.

I wonder if we aren’t in the same position sometimes.  We talk a lot about Jesus.  We talk about Him in pithy little comments on facebook.  We talk about him with one another.  We toss around His name (maybe even as a swear word).  We come to church and use His name as a half hearted answer.  What I wonder, is do we really understand who He is or do we get confused about who it is we are dealing with?

Herod Antipas (or Herod the Tetrarch) was the third son of Herod the Great and not his father’s first choice as heir.  Upon the death of Herod the Great, Ceaser Augustus divided the kingdom into three areas and put one of Herod’s sons over each.  The son over Judea died before the time of this text and was replaced with a Roman governor.  At times, Herod Antipas was a hero for the Jews.  For example when  Pilate first came to Rome, there was an uproar over the shield that were hung in Jerusalem.  They were idolatrous to the Jews and it was Herod Antipas that came to the rescue and had them removed.  Other times, Herod was not well received at all by the Jews.  First, he built his city of Tiberius over a cemetery making it unclean.  He also married his brother’s wife.  That brought the attention of John the Baptist who preached against it.  Consequently, Herod Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded.

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by Him (Luke 9:7a)

  What had he heard?

It was said by some that John had risen from the dead, 8 and by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the old prophets had risen again. (Luke 9:7c-8)

Herod is no doubt, hearing all kinds of things that Jesus is saying and doing.

And so, “and he was perplexed” (Luke 9:7b)  He is confused.  He even says “John I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such things?” (Luke 9:9a)  He is perplexed; he is puzzled.  Who is this man?  Is he a problem he cannot silence?  Is he a prophet to lead the people?  The reality of Jesus has always troubled people.  He wonders who Jesus is, because more than anything He wonders what Jesus will mean to Him.

Herod decides he must see Jesus. “So he sought to see Him.” (Luke 9:9b)  Herod did finally get to see Jesus during His trial.

Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; 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. (Luke 23:8)

Apparently, Herod simply wanted to see Jesus do a miracle; a trick.  He wanted to be entertained.  Throughout history, men have sought Jesus only to see what Jesus could do for them.

And what happens when Herod finally does get to see Jesus?

“Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. 11 Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.”  (Luke 23:9-11)

Jesus does not do a miracle, He does not offer proof of who He is, in fact, Jesus does not even speak to Herod.  Why?  We do not know for sure, but we know this:  Jesus does not owe anyone an explanation for Himself.

It is easy to condemn Herod, here.  It seems he only expected Jesus to do a trick.  We look at that and say, “how foolish!”  Did he know who it was he was seeking?  Did he know who it was that was brought in to him?  Yet, Herod is no different here than most people.

We have all heard many things about Jesus.  Some have heard all the stories in the Bible.  We have heard it said that He was God incarnate, that He was God’s only begotten son; that He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, showed power and authority over the natural and the supernatural world, died on a cross for our sins, and rose again conquering death.  And we get curious and wonder, what will he do for me?

We face this same dilemma.  We wonder, “who is this?” and we eagerly wait to see how He will perform for us.  Some protest.  They say, no, I just want to see something so that I can believe.  Who would you believe in?  Who is it you are seeking?  Are you seeking a cosmic servant; someone who will perform for you and grant you wishes?  Are you seeking the Lord of all creation?

You must understand that Jesus does not exist for us, but we exist for Him.  I know that many will say, “wait, did not Jesus humble Himself to serve us?”  Yes, but that is what is absolutely amazing!  There is no big deal at all to some sort of cosmic butler serving me. Yet the idea that the creator of all things would stoop down for me…that is incredible!

Sadly, many never grasp that amazing part.  That is why worship seems empty and why we confuse a worship service for entertainment.  If you struggle with the idea of becoming a Christian or if your Christian walk has become dry, it may be that you aren’t grasping what is so amazing.

Yes, you have heard some wonderful things about Jesus.  Yes, you may desire to see these things for yourself and to meet Him and get to the bottom of what this is all about.  Now imagine, that there is no question of “Who is this.”  Rather, the one you want to know more about; the one that you are seeking is the Lord.  You seek nothing less than the one true God who created you, who loves you, who gave Himself for you.  When you realize who it is that you are really seeking, you are blown away by His love.  Worship is no chore, and a life for Him is not dry.  You must understand who He is.

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