for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him… (Mark 6:20)


Who knows how things might have been different if Herod Antipas had not executed John the Baptist. Perhaps Herod himself would have become a disciple of Jesus… But Herod did have John the Baptist beheaded. Why? Because if not, he felt he would have lost face to his wife and daughter in front of his influential guests. It was just easier for him to kill John than justify why he should spare him.

Herod respected John but he was also greatly disturbed by him. I can’t help thinking that given enough time listening to John he might have grown less and less disturbed by what he was being taught. Herod was caught up in the worldly concerns of power, wealth and influence. He felt he had too much to lose if he repented and turned back to God.


Mark 6:14-20 NLT

Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.” When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.” For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favour to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.


The message John preached of the need to turn back to God had resonated with Herod, but the implications for his lifestyle were grave. When it came to it, Herod found it easier to kill John and then carry on life as normal rather than make a stand, and risk losing face. My goal today would be to listen a little longer, read a bit further and try and understand a little more in case I should feel like giving up, rubbishing the whole thing and carrying on as before.

Today’s readings:

Leviticus 13:1-59, Mark 6:1-29, Psalms 39:1-13, Proverbs 10:10


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