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)


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