King Herod could not sleep at night, not after the infamous party where John’s head was served on a platter by his daughter to his wife/half-sister. He thought Jesus was John back from the dead to haunt him. This was typical of Herod; living in fear of others and having concern only for himself.
We learn that instead of ruling as a king ought, he was being ruled by the people. Like King Saul of old, he was more concerned about what people thought of him, and like King Ahab, what his wife thought of him, than he was what God thought of him or considering the needs of his subjects. He was controlled by the whims and affections of others. He lived in fear and he lived for himself.
Jesus didn’t rest either, but not because of a burdened conscience, but because of a burdened heart. After hearing about the atrocity done by Herod, Jesus withdrew to a desolate place. Likely grieved at the death of his cousin, Jesus wanted to consider the plight of his people. But, instead of having time for contemplation, Jesus was confronted. He was faced with crowds of needy, hungry, and hurting people. So, like Herod, he threw a party – not for himself, but for this crowd. He healed them, he proclaimed good news, and he fed them until they were satisfied as only the King of Heaven could. Ironically Jesus was becoming famous, not because he sought fame, but because he cared for the people. Of course, even that fame was fleeting, but Jesus didn’t mind. He knew that as the people’s king he would have to lay down his glory for them. Instead of killing his enemies and feasting at their demise, he would lay his life down for them and say, “This bread is my body, which is broken for you, take and eat.” What a king…
What would it look like for you to reflect a king like this? - RG