He kept trying to see him. 

Rumors were flying.   Speculation was high.   Who was this Jesus of Nazareth?   Where did he come from, and what did he really want?   Was he John the Baptist, back from the dead?   A new incarnation of the prophet Elijah?   Or just some rabble-rouser from Galilee?

For Herod, this was an especially perplexing predicament.   He had already taken care of John the Baptist.   But it seemed that Jesus’ presence and his preaching pricked his conscience on the matter.   Maybe God really was trying to speak to him through John—and now through this Jesus. Still, Herod’s vision was clouded.   Aware that he was in a sinful relationship with his wife but unwilling to make any change, he couldn’t break through the fog to come to faith.

Of course, none of us are the same as Herod.   But like him, we may want to see the Lord but be hampered by blurred vision.   Unforgiveness, bitterness, fear, and anxiety—all of these and more can keep us in a fog.   But nothing is more capable of holding us back than unrepented sin.   John the Baptist brought Herod’s sin to light by criticizing Herod’s marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife.   Herod could have repented. He could have found a way out of his immoral union, but he ended up feeling forced to silence John’s voice instead.

The Holy Spirit can clear away any clouds that are obscuring your vision.   Through the gift of repentance, you can cooperate with him in this work.   In fact, getting into the habit of repenting at the end of every day is probably one of the best ways to sharpen your vision.

Every evening, look over your day, and ask the Spirit to help you identify anything that you may have thought or said or done that was displeasing to the Lord.   Then simply ask for forgiveness and for the Spirit’s help to do better tomorrow.   If the sin is serious enough, resolve to bring it to Confession as soon as you can.   Then end by thanking God for his mercy.   Over time, your vision will become clearer, simply because you are giving the Holy Spirit room to work in your heart.

Word Among Us

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