Several weeks have now passed, and Herod Antipas has been continually tormented by the murder of John the Baptist. Every night since he made that evil choice, he has been plagued by all too realistic nightmares of the prophet. Now, new and mysterious reports begin to reach his ears and increase his anxiety. He can’t understand what it could mean, and this both confuses him and plays havoc with his conscience. He alternately paces frantically and sits brooding on his throne as he tries to figure it out. It seems that there is another Prophet, one so powerful that He can share His power with anyone He chooses. The reports tell of miracles done all over Israel by this new Prophet and His disciples – even raising the dead. Some say this Man is one of the prophets of old come back to life – maybe even Elijah. Some even wonder if this could be the spirit of John the Baptist resting on a new prophet, or even John himself come back to life. This last possibility is the one that frightens Herod Antipas the most. Could the nightmares he has been having be a warning that John the Baptist is going to return and destroy the king? He must know for sure, he cannot endure these nightmares much longer or he will go mad, like his late father Herod the Great. The old butcher king had so many people killed that he hallucinated his way through his last years. Herod Antipas shudders at the thought and suddenly jumps to his feet, alarming his guards. “No!” he shouts, “That will not happen to me!” The guards look at each other in fear. They have heard the stories about the butcher king, and they, too, fear that Herod Antipas is falling into the same madness. Herod Antipas summons his chief steward and his full contingent of guards and commands, “Find this Prophet, the one they call Jesus of Nazareth, and bring Him to me. I wish to speak with Him, to learn who He is and what His purpose is.” All assembled bow and briskly turn to do the king’s bidding, grateful to be out of his presence.
Matthew 14:1-2, Mark 6:14-16, Luke 9:7-9