Luke 3: So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.  But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done,  added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
Luke lists as the worst thing of all of Herod’s atrocious sins, the fact that he locked up John in prison. He imprisoned, and then beheaded him because John, in Luke’s word, “reproved him” for an adulterous marriage.
Exposure of sin will cause people to react in one of two ways. We will hear it and acknowledge it and therefore attempt to do something about it, or we will stop listening to the critique. This is what Herod does. He silences the truth being said about him.
The difference between Herod and us besides time and geography was his ability to actually put what angered him, in jail. But we can all do what Herod did when his sin was exposed – silence that which exposes it.
The Bible can be a very convicting Book. It aims at the heart and does not miss its target. What shall we do when it addresses our thoughts, motives and actions so accurately? Keep it closed. The sermon in church may zero in on my little darling sins so it is best to simply skip going to church. The concept of a God who knows the secrets of the heart and holds people accountable for their behaviour is too much to handle – deny that He exists at all. Convince yourself that God really doesn’t mind that you are flaunting His standards. There are all kinds of ways to put that which addresses our sin, out of our way. Herod is anything but unique.
James tells us that it is like looking in a mirror and turning away from the mirror and forgetting what one looks like. In other words, when you get up in the morning and look in the mirror and do not like what you see, instead of washing and combing your hair and making yourself presentable, you decide to simply not look in mirrors anymore.
The law of God is an incredibly merciful gift to humanity. It lets us know what God expects of His creatures. And then when we see that we have not, will not and simply cannot keep it, it directs us to the only One who ever did. But coming to Christ means facing up to our sin, as sin, turning away from it, seeking God’s forgiveness and trusting Christ and all He did. It is the most liberating truth there can possibly be.
But instead of heeding it people hide their sins, hide from God, plug their ears, create other gods. Putting the exposure of their sins away convinces people that their good outweighs their bad, that God would never judge them for them and that they are fine just the way they are. We are all little Herods when it comes to putting away that which shows us how sinful we are. It is, quite literally, a damning exercise and it is so unnecessary when we consider that the first step to being set free from the penalty of sin is facing them, confessing them and letting Jesus deal with them. And out of mercy, He does.