Mark tells about the death of John the Baptist

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Pressure

Herod,, along with many others wondered who Jesus really was (vv. 14-18). Herod Antipas was ruler of Galilee. He was the son of Herod the Great and had inherited part of the kingdom from his father. Herod the Great was the king who was responsible for the massacre of the children in Bethlehem and the killing of three of his own sons. The marriage tangles of the Herod family are a mixed up mess to say the least. Antipas had stolen Herodias, his half-brother, Philip’s wife while visiting in his home. He divorced his own wife and brought his new wife back to live in the official residence in Tiberias of Galilee. Because of this adulterous  marriage and because of Herod’s deliberate seduction of his brothers wife, John the Baptist publicly rebuked him. This angered Herodias and she wanted to kill John (vv. 19-20).

When Antipas was drunk at his birthday party, in the castle of Machaerus near the Dead Sea, he promised to give the young daughter of Herodias whatever she wanted (vv. 21-23). When the daughter checked with her mother about what to ask for she said, “The head  of John the Baptist” (vv. 24-25). Even though the king didn’t want to do it he had made a vow and did not want to “lose face” with the group so under pressure he sent for John’s head (vv. 26-27). The guard put John’s head on a platter and took it to the girl who then gave it to her mother (v. 28). When John’s followers heard that he had been killed they took his body and put it in a tomb (v. 29). Now in this passage he hears about what Jesus is doing and he thinks that John the Baptist must have risen from the dead.

Application

Do I ever feel like I am in a pressure cooker, or that I am being pulled and pushed in every direction?  Well, I can respond like Herod. I can be manipulated by it to the point where I am forced to make decisions contrary to what I know is right. Or I can refuse to yield to it and seek the will of God instead.

Mark 6:14-29 (English Standard Version)

King 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." But others said, "He is Elijah." And others said, "He 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 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. For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for 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. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 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." And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom." And she went out and said to her mother, "For what should I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist." 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." And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

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