April 27

Text: Matthew 14:1, 2

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus, and said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead; and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him." (NASB)

Jesus was so popular and unusual that he had to be explained by even those who did not know him.  Jesus, who posed a threat to no one in typical ways, was a perceived threat to those in power.  It is dangerous to be popular when someone else is in control!

Our conscience provides us an answer (correct or incorrect) when we feel guilty.  Herod the tetrarch was not at peace with having John killed.  When he heard about Jesus, he explained Jesus by assuming John was resurrected to torment him (people are quick to assume, “It is all about us.”).  According to Herod, Jesus had power because he was really the resurrected John.  Everything was about Herod!

Why is that such a common reaction?  (1) We are terrorized when we violate our own sense of right and wrong.  (2) The more we try to grasp control, the more we realize the deception of being “in control” as an illusion.

What we call “control” is brief, tenuous, and uncertain.  There is always someone who is delighted to show us we do not have the control we think we do!  There always is a situation that challenges us to face our “in control” illusion.  Our conscience constantly is ready to say, “I got you again!”

To the extent we experience “control,” “control” is more about what we do with self than what we do about others.  It is more about our motives and values than causing others to act in the way we say act.

Suggestion for reflection: What is your top priority—control or service?  (Read James 3:13-18.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell