Monday, January 16, 2017
“And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him. Others said, That it is Elias. And others said, That it is a prophet, or as one of the prophets. But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded: he is risen from the dead.” (Mark 6:14-16)
Word of Jesus’ miracles began to spread, and people began to question who he was. John the Baptist had been killed and Herod thought he must have come back to life and was doing these miracles. He was especially concerned because he had ordered John’s execution. Others thought he was Elijah, or one of the other prophets come to life, while still others thought he was a new prophet.
“For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.
Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him, and would have killed him; but she could not: For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” (Mark 6:17-20)
John had confronted Herod for having an affair with his sister-in-law, reminding him what the law said in Leviticus 20:21 about it being and incestuous relationship. “And if a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing: he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness…” Herod had John arrested, but had a respect for the Jewish religion and began to listen to what John had to say. Having left her own husband for his brother, Herodias was really upset that John said it was wrong and Herod was listening to him. She was pretty sure Philip would not take her back. She began to look for a way to have John killed so she didn’t lose her position.
“And when a convenient day was come, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee; And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.
And she went forth, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? And she said, The head of John the Baptist.
And she came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.” (Mark 6:21-25)
On his birthday, Herod invited his officers and leaders to a party. Herodias’ daughter danced for the crowd to provide entertainment, and Herod was so pleased he offered to give her anything she asked for. Not knowing what to ask for, she asked her mother, who told her to ask for John the Baptists head on a covered platter. The girl did as her mother demanded.
“And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath's sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, And brought his head in a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.” (Mark 6:26-28)
Herod didn’t want to kill John, but to keep his reputation, he decided to go ahead and have him killed. He gave the orders and little later they delivered John’s head to the girl, who took it to her Mom. When Herod heard about Jesus’ miracles, it is easy to understand why he was worried.
“And when his disciples heard of it, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.” (Mark 6:29)
John’s students took his body and buried it.