Mark – The Facts.
After rebellious living in ways to indulge self with denial and excuses for destructive behavior, God sends people with power and strength to stand and tell the Truth. The Truth is like surgery. It hurts but it heals. A lie is a painkiller. It gives instant relief but has side affects forever. Who are we drawn to? Those who tell the Truth or those who lie?
Herod was drawn to John who told him the truth about his adulterous living. “Whenever he listened to John he was miserable with guilt–and yet he couldn’t stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back.” That “something” was God’s Spirit in John. We have God’s Spirit living in us.
However, in a wicked turn of events, Herod is easily manipulated because of a drunken state and self indulgence perversion. He kills the man of Truth whose desire was to help him turn back to God. Now, he is faced with Truth in the Person of Jesus Christ. “He’s back!”, says Herod who is convinced that Jesus is John who has come back to haunt him.
Mark 6, The Message
The Death of John
14 King Herod heard of all this, for by this time the name of Jesus was on everyone’s lips. He said, “This has to be John the Baptizer come back from the dead—that’s why he’s able to work miracles!”
15 Others said, “No, it’s Elijah.”
Others said, “He’s a prophet, just like one of the old-time prophets.”
16 But Herod wouldn’t budge: “It’s John, sure enough. I cut off his head, and now he’s back, alive.”
17-20 Herod was the one who had ordered the arrest of John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison at the nagging of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery.” Herodias, smoldering with hate, wanted to kill him, but didn’t dare because Herod was in awe of John. Convinced that he was a holy man, he gave him special treatment. Whenever he listened to him he was miserable with guilt—and yet he couldn’t stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back.
21-22 But a portentous day arrived when Herod threw a birthday party, inviting all the brass and bluebloods in Galilee. Herodias’s daughter entered the banquet hall and danced for the guests. She dazzled Herod and the guests.
22-23 The king said to the girl, “Ask me anything. I’ll give you anything you want.” Carried away, he kept on, “I swear, I’ll split my kingdom with you if you say so!”
24 She went back to her mother and said, “What should I ask for?”
“Ask for the head of John the Baptizer.”
25 Excited, she ran back to the king and said, “I want the head of John the Baptizer served up on a platter. And I want it now!”
26-29 That sobered the king up fast. But unwilling to lose face with his guests, he caved in and let her have her wish. The king sent the executioner off to the prison with orders to bring back John’s head. He went, cut off John’s head, brought it back on a platter, and presented it to the girl, who gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and got the body and gave it a decent burial.
Think about it…
–Herod killed John to simply “save face” in front of his perverted peers. Have we been faced with similar tests of our faith? Do we deny, ignore, or lie to save face when faced with Truth?
–Are resentful toward others who love us enough to tell us when we are going astray or have lost focused on Christ?
–Are we the “messengers of Truth”? Have we knowingly put our selves at risk for truth telling?
–Very seldom is telling the truth easy, but if God has given you the message and opportunity, we must obey. As Paul reminds, however, “Speak Truth in love.” Make sure your message is from God to help others find and follow Him. Motivation of the heart is everything.
Dear Heavenly Father, The story of John and Herod is heartbreaking to us so it must of been excruciating to You to watch the story unfold with the beheading of your servant. There are many in the world today who are being tortured in much the same ways. Please be with them all and help their loved ones who are persecuted for telling the Truth of You. Be with us today and give us wisdom, insight and understanding to see and know Truth and stand for truth with all that is in us.
In Jesus Name, Amen