But when Herod heard thereof
Either of Christ, or rather of the different opinions about him,
he said, it is John, whom I have beheaded:
the thought stuck close to him, and continued with him; he could not get rid of it, nor persuade himself to the contrary; nor could any of his servants get him off of it, but he affirmed it with the greatest assurance imaginable. These different sentiments of the people concerning Jesus, greatly perplexed the mind of Herod, as appears from ( Luke 9:7-9 ) , for it was first given out by others, and not by Herod, that John the Baptist was
risen from the dead;
which he hearing of, gave him great uneasiness: he thoroughly considered the matter; he called to mind how he had used him, imprisoned him, and put him to death. At first he could not receive it, that since he was beheaded by him, he should be restored to life; but hearing of the miracles that were done by him, his conscience accused him, his fancy worked, and at length he firmly believed it, that he must be risen: and this sentiment, which he himself gave into at last, distressed him above all the rest, because of his concern in his death, fearing he was come to life to take vengeance on him: it might not sit very easy upon his mind, to bear that Elias had appeared the forerunner of the Messiah, the king of the Jews; who himself might be quickly expected, and who, he might fear, would seize upon, and take away that part of the kingdom which he was possessed of: and even to be told, that one of the prophets was risen from the dead, might be shocking to him; imagining that something of considerable moment was to be done, some revolution to be made; that the people would be stirred up by him, to attempt a change of government: but the first of these made the greatest impression on him, and what he could not get off, but fully gave into, as a thing unquestionable. He owns he beheaded John; he was conscious to himself of the sin, and confesses it; he does not lay it to the charge of Herodias and her daughter, though they requested it; the guilt of it lay upon his conscience, and he dreaded this appearance of John, as he fancied. And if he was a Sadducee before, as he has been thought to be, he now changed his mind, and believed a resurrection from the dead. So men may be convinced of sin, and entertain other and better notions of religion, and yet not be converted persons.