Today in Mark we look at the death of John the Baptist, as found in Mark 6:14-29:
The Death of John the Baptist
14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
17 For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18 For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” 23 And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
John the Baptist is Jesus’ family and friend. While many folks questioned and doubted who Jesus was, John believed. Now we see John at times, under the stress of the moment, doubt as well, we see though, that John knew who Jesus was. Jesus loved Him. And John loved and followed Jesus.
And we see in this passage that John is murdered by the king.
I think that there are several things that we can learn from this passage today. First, we see that just because we faithful, it doesn’t mean that we wound face troubles. John was faithful. John did what was right. John stood for Jesus, John stood up against what was wrong.
And because of that John was struck down by the king. Sometimes, doing what is right doesn’t mean that you won’t face troubles, in fact, it’s the other way. Doing what’s right may increase your troubles.
So today, if you face opposition or trouble, don’t get down. Don’t get discouraged. It means you are being faithful. In this world we will face troubles, but take heart. Jesus has overcome this world. Don’t worry. Trust!
And then we can learn a lot from looking at Herod. Two things jump out to me about him looking at the text. First, he “knew” what was right. Notice he like to hear John preach. He knew he was a prophet. He knew his words word true. He knew that was John was saying was right. He knew it. But yet he didn’t want to do anything about it. He didn’t want to change.
It isn’t enough that we know what is true. We have to follow what is true. Herod knew what was true. He just didn’t want to follow it.
And the second thing I notice is the danger of pride. He didn’t want to behead John. It grieved him. But yet, to not do that would have been embarrassing. It would have harmed his pride. So, he had to choose between doing what was right, or his pride.
And he chose his pride.
Pride is a dangerous thing. Proverbs tells us that the pride goes before the fall. Because of Herod’s pride, he choose wrong and did great harm.
May we not make the same mistake today!
Friday we’ll look at Mark 6:30-44.
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