Mark Has Some Good News, Part 23, If You Can't Do Something Smart Do Something Right... Sheppard Book
The Death of John the Baptist
14 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." 15 But others said, "He is Elijah." And others said, "He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." 16 But when Herod heard of it, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."
17 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. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 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.
21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 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." 23 And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom." 24 And she went out and said to her mother, "For what should I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the Baptist." 25 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." 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28 and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Sometimes opposition is a guarantee. And with the opposition come the certainty of loss, pain or even death. There are countless martyrs every day for a faith that asked them to die to themselves that they might live for Christ.
John knew this probably more intimately than others. Jesus was family to him and he was Christ's loud speaker so preaching repentance to Christ was the only thing that John was going to do. The problem there in being kings who sleep with their sister in law’s and parade their daughters in a strip tease for their buddies in the army.
That problem probably didn't wait for John to come to the palace and chat, I imagine he came to see John and make a public appearance. But prophets, especially good ones don't take kindly to lip service. And John named the greatest man to ever come from a woman by Jesus, had no fear of men. Even if they were despot kings.
He spoke truth, insulted a seemingly whore-ish queen, and got himself killed. John did not have fear of man issues as would a lot of people in his position. He could have played the game politically and conversed with Herod. He could have set up counseling sessions and be nice and caring about it. But he knew that compromise most often leads to a wrong being named as right. So instead of doing something smart like conserving his voice or showing propriety to wealth, he did something right. He called a spade a spade and asked for repentance.
And it got him killed.
When you make a stand for the way of truth there is a chance that you will be calling the nice, friendly, respectful, political way wrong, you'll draw a line in the sand of your life. And while it cost John his life, he was called the greatest man to ever be born by God himself. That more than laurels after a race well run. That victory plain and simple.