Year 2 Day 280
Read - Mark 6:14-16
Message - Alan Burke
Today as we return to the book of Mark we are told of the death of John the Baptist. Think back to how the ministry of Jesus began in the book of Mark, it was after John had been put in prison (1:14). Once this had happened “Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,”, he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (1:14-15). What we have here in this passage, although it is focused on the death of John it is ultimately telling us how the message of repentance was being received.
As we are introduced to King Herod bear in mind that he is nothing more than a Roman puppet, he was a tetrarch whose rule covered Galilee and Perea, he was not a king. When Herod the ‘this’ or the ‘it’ of v14 depending on the translation before you, it is referring to the message that the disciples were going out proclaiming it’s told to us in v12 “They went out and preached that people should repent”. It was the message that Jesus had been proclaiming, the message that John had proclaimed, the message Jesus sent his disciples out proclaiming, that of Repentance! Well this news came to Herod, the ministry of Jesus was drawing the attention not only of the people of God but of the Roman Leaders, it was drawing the attention of Herod, yet there is confusion in who Jesus was. The reports of what people were saying was that he was John the Baptist who had been raised from the dead, and comments like “that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” show that, while…”Others said, “He is Elijah.”” “And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”” (V14-15)
There is confusion, there are misconceptions here, what we see is a thread that has been repeated throughout the gospel of Mark, as people asked, “who is this man?”. Well here we learn of the guilty conscious of Herod and how it was getting the better of him (v16), for he feared John had risen. John was the forerunner of Jesus, the last Old Testament Prophet, who had been arrested just before Jesus began his ministry (1:14) who had been preparing for way for Jesus the true King. Herod would have heard from John and heard from his military leaders and the leading men of Galilee of who Jesus was claiming to be, how he was proclaiming the gospel about the kingdom of God, how the kingdom is at hand and the need to repent and believe in the gospel (Mk 1:15).
That same sense of confusion and misconceptions of who Jesus was and is continues on today. Herod had heard about Jesus but it made no difference to him. He knew fine well of the reports of Jesus, the message that was being proclaimed, he knew what was going on but at the same time it is not only confession and misconception from Herod but apathy, for he hears but he does nothing with it. Yet he had done something with it, he chose to ignore it once more, he had responded, but it was not with repentance and belief but rejection. Either we respond to the call of Jesus with repentance and belief or we reject it. Responding with repentance and belief leads to eternal life, while rejection leads to death and the pains of hell forever.
Q42 What is the sum of the ten commandments?
The sum of the ten commandments is, To love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind; and our neighbour as ourselves. (Matt. 22:37–40)