Problem: Herod thought Jesus was John the Baptist, or not
Verses: Mark 6:14-16; Luke 9:7-9; Status: Minor

After Herod Antipas had John the Baptist executed, he began to hear stories about another great man in the country. This is Mark 6:14-16:

King Herod heard of it, for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him." But others said, "He is Elijah." And others said, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." But when Herod heard of it, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised." (ESV)

Matthew 14:1-2 is similar. By contrast, this is Luke 9:7-9:

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. (ESV)

It seems that, in Mark, Herod believed Jesus was John, whereas in Luke he didn't. But I can't see this as a very serious problem. In Mark's account, when Herod suggests that the stranger is John back from the dead, he can hardly be certain of such an extraordinary thing. It's just wild speculation, and I doubt he really believed it. With that in mind, I don't think Luke really contradicts Mark strongly.

Updated: 2009-04-14

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