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John the Baptist Beheaded April 29, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Matthew 14:1-12.

Summary: In this passage, Herod Antipas arrests John the Baptist, as John:

  • is tremendously popular
  • confronts his sinful marriage to Herodias.

Herod is later aroused on his birthday by the lewd dancing of Herodias’ daughter, Salome. He promises to fulfill her wishes, and her mother prompts her to request the murder of John. John is then executed.

Later, when Herod hears about Jesus, his guilty conscience leads him to believe that John has been resurrected in the person of Jesus.

Thoughts: Here, we see that John the Baptist died violently. Ryle offers some thoughts on this point:

If ever there was a case of godliness unrewarded in this life, it was that of John the Baptist. Let us think for a moment what a remarkable man he was during his short career, and then think to what end he came…Truly there was an event here, if there ever was one in the world, which might make an ignorant person say, “What is the good of serving God?”

This is a challenging passage, as it forces us, as believers, to plumb the depth of our loyalty to God. We may be willing to endure some of the trials that stem from following Him, but are we willing to suffer for Him to the point of death? Can we truly look past this life and focus on the promise of a reward in the next life? We know that God calls us to exercise a simple, childlike faith; can we maintain a childlike trust in Him when our instincts toward self-preservation are challenged? These questions do not have facile answers.

This account also highlights the character flaws of Herod Antipas. He did not want his dinner guests to view him as a weakling, and so he sacrificed an innocent man. Now while Herod’s actions made him a convenient target, we should ask ourselves: can we follow the example of John the Baptist and act rightly in the face of opposition? Can we live out our convictions even when our righteousness has a cost? Perhaps we should respond to this passage with humility, asking God for His wisdom and strength to avoid the trap that Herod set for himself.

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