Mark 6:14King 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.” 15But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly. 21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22For when Herodias’s daughter 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 to you.” 23And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. (ESV)
This is one of the saddest stories of the New Testament. John the Baptist was put in prison for speaking the truth about Herod’s personal life. In fact John was languishing in his prison cell to the point where he doubted his calling. In Matthew 11 we read that he sent his disciples to Jesus to inquire whether he was the real one or whether they were to wait for another. He was the one who leapt for joy in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s voice who was in jail and eventually gave his live because of a drunken party promise. A life that had been likened to that of Elijah coming to an end because a beautiful woman danced in an enticing manner before her step father. It would be a promise that Herod would regret the rest of his life.
How do we make sense of this story? I’m not sure we can. There are times when the overwhelming evil of this world overshadows the good and the pure that comes from people of God. Although there are dark hours for us and endings that don’t seem right God is always in control. John had done his best in God’s Kingdom. He had prepared the way for the Messiah. And in the end Herod died an awful agonizing death that makes losing one’s head seem easy. When we are in our darkest moments we need to remember that our stories are not over. God is still working in and through us to complete His story. What’s your story? Where is it playing out God’s story today?
Father God thank you that you are still telling your story through us. Even if we are in dark circumstances your story carries us along to glorious conclusions. Give us that hope and vision today. In Jesus Name we pray. Amen!
2 responses to “Genesis 35&36; Mark 6; Job 2; Romans 6”
I’ll not minimize the horrible death that John the Baptist experienced, but I wonder if his question was the last thing he wanted to be sure of before he was ready for death. I mean, he knew that when Jesus arrived, his job was basically over which meant he was probably ready to see God. I wonder if I will know when my work on earth is done, or will I be surprised by the swift swoop of being transported to heaven.
Wow, Janet. I never looked at it that way.
Thanks for your post, Dave!