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Mark 6: 14-29 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." But others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." But when Herod heard of it, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised." 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. For John had been telling Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 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. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. 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." And he solemnly swore to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." She went out and said to her mother, "What should I ask for?" She replied, "The head of John the baptizer." 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." The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
The ministry of Jesus showed the great power that God had given Him. In the passage immediately before this one, Jesus has sent the Twelve out to do His work and they were very successful, driving out demons, and healing the sick; and in the midst of this comes one of the most disappointing and heartbreaking moments in Jesus' early ministry, the death of his kinsman, John the Baptizer. The author takes this opportunity as Herod is questioning who Jesus is, to relay the details of John's death. Herod, upon hearing of Jesus' ministry, asks if Jesus is John the Baptist raised from the dead. And this caused him fear, for he had personally put to death one of his chief critics. John, you see, could not keep quiet about immorality, namely that Herod had taken his brother's wife as his own, but no one wanted him dead more than Herodias herself, but she feared that Herod would protect John as he was afraid of his power and influence. You know the rest of the story; a great party takes place, the daughter of Herodias dances and as a reward for her great dance gets to ask for whatever she wanted, even half of the kingdom. But Mommie dearest wants only one thing: The head of John the Baptist on a platter. And that was what she got.
John was faithful to his God and to the calling that God had placed on his life. John feared nothing for he knew the extent of God's power and love, and knew that even facing death he would be with God upon his death and lived and shared the truth about God's justice and demands for our righteous living. Unlike many of us who encounter a setback or challenge and we feel like giving up. John surrended all for the sake of being faithful to God. He knew the great cost that God had already paid for his life and he assumed that a greater price would be paid in the life of his cousin, Jesus.
What about you? What are you facing that you believe you cannot go on because it would cost a lot of you or from you? You may not be asked to surrender your head, but whatever challenge or cost you face, God faces it with you. What you may show others may just be the blessing that others have been waiting to see from you.
PRAYER: Loving God, to You I surrender myself and my life. Whatever you may be asking of me, I accept and I want to go forward and serve You. Grant me boldness and courage. This I pray in Christ Jesus' precious and powerful name, amen.
Have a great and blessed day in the Lord!