“Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. Herod said, ‘John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?’ And he sought to see him...
“At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to [Jesus], ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’”
“When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.” Luke 9:7-9; 13:31; 23:8-12
Herod was a man who gloated in his power and relished being titillated and entertained. He did not like being put on a spot about any personal belief or conviction, and shrank from being called to account. He much preferred to skim along truth’s surface where he could flirt with curiosity and gloss over real meaning- anything, including befriending a former enemy, to avoid having to make a faith decision about Jesus. (Luke 8:25)
It is one thing to want to know about Jesus, and entirely another to desire to know Him. Our world offers a full menu of opportunities to read and learn about the Lord, and wide is that road. But to get to know Him, personally and intimately, is an exercise of faith many eschew. We dance around the truth of who Jesus is with partners who share our inquisitiveness but coerce us into avoiding any commitment, any decision that instills accountability or requires a change of heart or habit. We might recognize the Spirit’s quickening, then unwittingly surround ourselves with nay-sayers, attempting to be placated and gain approval by rejecting the truth. Flirting with faith is a dangerous practice; God will not be mocked. (Matthew 7:13; Galatians 6:7-8)
Do we settle for superficial acquaintance with “Christians,” name-dropping from a conference attended or book read, but have no pulsing passion for Christ or measurable stride of faith to show? Are we all shallow talk and no depth walk? What evidence is there, looking back over the year, of significant transformation of our understanding, our temper and temperament, our attitude toward others, our exercise of faith over fear or peace over worry? How is growing faith shrinking old habits and prejudices?
When the Spirit moves us to surrender and we cease flirting, and fall in love with Jesus, we will not be able to get enough of Him. There will be no turning back in our quest to know Him, obey Him, honor Him, and glorify Him.
Father, may I never settle for shallow faith and cursory living. Drive me deep with You every day, and compel me to go deeper still and so be transformed from glory to glory until I see your face. (2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2)