Who Am I?
“What’s My Line” ran on CBS from 1950-1967. Celebrity panelists got to question a contestant trying to determine what he or she did. Each week a famous mystery guest would also come on the show, the panelists would be blindfolded, and then they would try to guess the celebrity’s identity by asking “yes-no” questions. The show was syndicated and even generated clones in countries from Australia to Sweden to Brazil.
As readers, Mark invites us to play his version of “What’s My Line”, only he lets us in on the secret right at the beginning. He told us Jesus’ line in his first sentence. He’s the Messiah, the Son of God (1:1). But both Jesus’ followers and his enemies don’t know the secret and we get to watch as different groups and individuals get to ask questions and look at the evidence. When Jesus sent his disciples out all over northern Israel, the territory ruled by King Herod, and Jesus’ name became as well-known as his own, Herod had to come to some conclusions of his own about who Jesus was. So do we.
“Now King Herod heard about the impact Jesus and his disciples were making, for Jesus’ name had become well known, and they were saying, ‘John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That explains these powerful miracles being done by him.’ Others said, ‘It’s Elijah.’ But others were saying, ‘He’s a prophet like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard, he said, ‘It’s John, who I beheaded, he has been raised!’” Mark 6:14-16
Mark lets us feel the impact of the two by two mission Jesus’ disciples carried out all over Herod’s territory by letting us in on the discussions trying to determine what Jesus’ line actually was. Some have come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Elijah-like prophet who was supposed to herald the coming of the Messiah. Others are more general and simply declare that Jesus is a prophet like Isaiah, Jeremiah, or Hosea. But Herod has come to a firm conclusion. Jesus is John the Baptist raised from the dead. Like a lot of self-serving politicians, his conclusion is dead wrong, but it does reveal that no one was disputing the fact that Jesus did incredible miracles, and that belief in a bodily resurrection, even after a beheading, is an accepted possibility in the first century. In tomorrow’s Devo we’ll go on and let Mark show us why Herod is so fixated on John the Baptist.
LORD, thanks for how Mark honestly lays out the debate about Jesus’ identity during his earthly ministry. Cause many who are reading this Devo to see the power Jesus has over demonic activity, disease, death, and even the powers of nature, and realize that he definitely is a prophet, but far greater than any other.
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