Year 2 Day 284
Read - Mark 6:21-29
Message - Alan Burke
Most of us if not all of us try to ignore the evil in this world, we try to pretend that where we live is sheltered but sadly the truth is that there is great evil going on all around us, hidden behind the closed doors of respectable looking homes, with respectable seeming people. Ok Herod wasn’t that respectable, yet he had power and status and could do pretty much what he wanted and live how he wanted. Well after we are told of the imprisonment of John we are given the account of his beheading. As it begins we are told of how… “finally the opportune time came” that is the opportune time for Herodias to act. It was Herod’s birthday party, doesn’t seem that out of the ordinary, but then what we are told here is just frankly awful.
You have Herod, surrounded by the who’s who, and the daughter of Herodias, Salome his niece and his step daughter and she comes and dances for him and all the fellas. The word that is used here for “girl” there in v22 in the greek means little girl, maiden. It speaks of someone who is before the age of getting married, Salome is no more than 12 maybe 13 and she is dancing in a way that what we are told pleases Herod and his dinner guests.
This is a scene of a dirty old man with inflamed passion, along with the who’s who of the region looking on. You get the idea. Well in this, with the focus on him, Herod inflamed with passion for his stepdaughter, makes an offer of up to half his kingdom, but he wasn’t king and it wasn’t his to give. Salome leaves asks her mother “what shall she ask for” and there it is, the moment that Herodias had been waiting for, the opportune time came, and she wanted the head of John the Baptist.
What we see is that this wicked woman Herodias is using her daughter in this way, and don’t be fooled into thinking that Salome was in some way excused for what was taking place, yes she had been put in an awful situation, but she was culpable just as we all are no matter what age before God for our sin. For look what she adds, as she returns to her stepdad after having done her dance and gone and spoken to her mum, she tells Herod right now that she wanted head of John the Baptist, on a platter!
Even though Herod is distressed (NIV) it wasn’t enough for him to take back the oath, he had a choice between repenting of his sin or giving in to it, of saving face or saving John’s life and his eternal soul. This only caused Herod more guilt than ever before but still no repentance of his sin. Herodias had her lust for revenge satisfied with the death of John, she even managed to get his head on a platter, it’s a gruesome scene to imagine but shows us exactly where her heart was.
John’s death shouldn’t surprise us, not really, this world is a world of darkness and Satan will do all that he can to silence the message. Secular rules do not want to hear the gospel, they do not what to be confronted with their sins and they do no care for the message of Christ and his kingdom. For Herod the cost of hearing the message of Christ and his kingdom was too great, it would have had to give up his wife, his parties, his abuse of power all to bow the knee, to turn from his sin.
In the end in this passage it seems that the power of evil has triumphed over John. Yet the death of John did not silence the message. The good news of the Gospel continues to this day, the message of repent and believe will go out across this world, the kingdom of God cannot be stoped and it is a glorious message, of Good News for the kingdom of God is near.
Q46 What is required in the first commandment?
The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God; (1 Chron. 28:9, Deut. 26:17) and to worship and glorify him accordingly. (Matt. 4:10, Ps. 29:2)