Summary: Herod was confused and mystified by who Jesus was, are we?

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Small Group Lesson: The Issue of Herod

Luke 9:7-9

7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, 8 others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. 9 But Herod said, “I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?” And he tried to see him.


1. Who the heck was Herod?

2. What were the people saying in order to explain Jesus?

3. Who do modern people say Jesus is?

4. Okay, since I am honest, I too am perplexed? How can Jesus be both God and Man?

5. How hard did Herod try to see Jesus?


1. For the record, and this information really doesn’t make great small group material. The Herod the Tetrach in this passage is referring to Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great. Herod the Great was the freak king who when he heard about the magi’s proclamation that the new born king had been born, went out and had all the baby boys killed. So this is the biological son of one of the great murderers in history. We do not know if the story of Jesus’ birth and magi was passed down to him, but it’s at least probable.

We also know that Herod Antipas was a killer, this is the man who had John the Baptist beheaded. This man was also an adulterer who did not like to be reminded of his sin, which was the main reason for John’s beheading. I feel it’s reasonable to look at him as any ultimate despot leader would have been seen.

For the purposes of small group, it is possible that all or none of this information is pertinent, so please let the Spirit lead you accordingly.

*One more knowledge base word here is the word “perplexed.” Literally, it is the word diaporew, which means “at a loss.” Perplexed is a good translation, it is obvious that this man really no idea what to think. I guess he was sort of like the guy from the classic musical The King and I, pretty clueless.

2. As the Lord leads, begin here by asking the students what their classmates think of Jesus? When the name Jesus is spoken, what is said? Do people make fun of God or Jesus? Can anyone tell some stories?

Biblically, the people said he was Elijiah, John the Baptist, or one of the great prophets. Wrong on all accounts. Modern day people say he is a good teacher, a religious leader, a baby, or even that they are not sure (perplexed like Herod in other words).

None of those answers are very good at all! There are a couple things active here. First, people are willing to say Jesus is great by proclaiming him to be equal or close to equal as other great humans. This, in their mind, allows them to show the proper respect (just in case). But at the same time, it voids them with the reason to have to worship Him, which includes following Him, and that includes putting some sins aside. So, it’s a cop out.

“Are you copping out?” –tough question.

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