Trying to See — What?

Today’s Gospel (Luke 9:7-9):

Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed because some were saying, “John has been raised from the dead”, others were saying, “Elijah has appeared”; still others, “One of the ancient prophets has risen.” But Herod said, “John I beheaded. Who then is this about whom I hear such things?” And he kept trying to see him.

Herod kept ‘trying to see’ who this man was. This Jesus, whom he heard so many wonderful things…why did Herod want to see him? Why did he keep trying to see him?

Who is it – or what is it – I seek after? And you?

At times, it is easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of our days, and get sucked into conversations or activities that divide our energies. We find ourselves unfulfilled in all that we are doing, despite the fact most of it is good. Yet, lying within our mind and heart is a longing — a deep, unfulfilled desire, for something; for a Someone.

A passage from Isaiah has been in my mind all morning that points to where our minds and hearts should constantly be:

“A nation of firm purpose you keep in peace; in peace, for its trust in you” (Is 26:3).

Other translations of this verse make it more personal; not speaking of nations, but to the individual: “You keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

The object, then, of our deeper longing is found here, in keeping our mind stayed on God. Perhaps Herod understood intuitively what was missing in his life. He used to like to sit and listen to John the Baptist, even though it railed against his lifestyle; John had a way of speaking of the truth that made others hunger for it, even as it upset them (Mark 6:20). Maybe when Herod heard of the workings of Jesus, his remembrance of listening to John came back to him, and the feelings that truth brought to the troubled heart also returned. If Herod can recognize this need and seek to ‘try and see’ Jesus, we too can make an effort to clear the way for our mind and heart to visit with the Lord, and let Him speak to our heart, and in our listening, find perfect peace.