Persecution Still Present

This past week I had Mark 6: 14-29 and Matt 14: 3-12 assigned for Storying. This is a well-known story regarding the beheading of John the Baptist by King Herod at the request of his wife Herodias by her daughter. This story really brings to light the risks of staying true in a culture of evil and lies.

The story starts with Herod hearing about the twelve apostles proclaiming repentance, casting out demons, and healing the sick. Word gets to Herod and we see how Herod and others are thinking Jesus must be John the Baptist, Elijah, or another prophet of old returned from the dead.

It is at this point we learn King Herod had John beheaded. John called King Herod out for marrying his brother Phillip’s wife and Herodias takes the calling of her sin out personal instead of as a correction for sinful behavior. Herod is throwing a feast and has a bunch of his court, military commanders, and the leading men of Galilee present. During this banquet Herod asks Herodias daughter to dance. Her dancing pleased everyone and Herod informed her he would grant a wish to her up to half his kingdom.

The Queen informed her daughter to ask for the head of John. Herod had been protecting John in his prison and as much as the words of John perplexed him, he enjoyed listening to John speak. With this request Herod was in a bind. He had made a promise as a reward but the request would require him to kill this great prophet and man. King Herod called the executioners and they beheaded John and delivered his head on a plate. John’s disciples heard about this tragedy and retrieved the body and laid it in a tomb.

This is a tragic story of sin run wild. all too often sin does not stop at the point of initiation, but grows and festers. What are some valuable lessons we can learn from this story.

  • John the Baptist called a sin a sin, even at great personal risk to himself.
  • Saving face is a poor reason to do something.
  • Christians from the beginning have demonstrated their willingness to die for their faith. Is the Christian faith in America strong enough to do this and how many people regular consider this just might happen to them.

This story really speaks about persecution and the results of being true to Jesus. If we are honest and true to what our Lord requires, we will not be silent at the sins committed around us by government, people, and family. How often have you looked the other way at sin?

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