Matthew 14:1-2. “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 on him.”
Herod the Tetrarch was the son of the Herod who tried to have Jesus killed when He was born. The title Tetrarch refers to the size of the land over which he ruled, literally one-fourth of the area of Israel. Herod actually had the title “King,” and he was very jealous of that position. His realm included Judea, Samaria and Idumea. He was married to a daughter of King Aretas of Arabia, but he lived in open adultery with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. He was in all ways an evil man, and he came to a terrible end that you can read about in Acts 12.
In Matthew 4 we learned that John the Baptist had been imprisoned. In chapter 11, he had sent his friends to Jesus to get some reassurance; in this chapter, we’ll see his end.
Herod, like his father, was very troubled at the news of Jesus’ preaching and miracles. Anyone who seemed to be a threat to his power was on a long list of people to eliminate. He was not a religious man, but he was obviously very superstitious. He assumed that Jesus must have been John, risen from death and doing miraculous things.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at why Herod had such a guilty conscience.