Daily Archives: March 22, 2023

Joshua 9-13 & Mark 6

I don’t know about you, but there are passages of Scripture that can make me really sad. This passage is one of those for me. From a human perspective what a waste. What an ending to a great person’s life! How do you explain something like this in human terms? Read this passage and catch my thoughts on the other side.

21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For 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.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25 And 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.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.  (Mark 6:21-29 [ESV])

Our first reaction is to pity John for what happened to him, but he was the person with noble character who stood above the rest. In the end he is the one we read about and not the lesser characters that surrounded him even though they seemed so important at the time.

When John’s ministry was finished (preparing the way for Jesus) he was taken home to heaven. He lived a full though short life that was full of God’s pleasure. If anyone getting to heaven received the words “well done” it was John. And isn’t that what we all live for? Every Christ follower should be looking forward to that time with Jesus when we hear those words. John has heard them!

James Russell Miller writes, “The life of John the Baptist is rich in its lessons. For example, he hid himself away – and pointed the people always to Christ. He was willing to decrease – that Christ might increase. When his popularity waned and he was left almost alone, with scarcely any friends or followers, he kept as sweet and worked as faithfully as when he was everybody’s favorite. He was heroic in reproving sin, even in a king. His whole life was noble. Forgetting himself, he lived for God in the truest and most complete way, unto the end.

We can point to the circumstances, but we should really focus on the life of John and what he lived and died for.

Father God I pray that when those reading this post today come to the end of their lives (including me) and stand before Jesus we will hear those words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”


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