Saturday, August 29, 2009

Martyrdom of John the Baptist

When Herod ordered John the Baptist to be beheaded,scripture tells us (Mark 6:26) that "The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word . . ."

You see, the daughter of Herodias had performed a dance for the king, and it so delighted all of his guests that he promised her anything. By her mother's prompting, she requested John's head on a platter. Unwilling to go back on his word,spoken in front of everyone, Herod ordered John's death. Scripture tells us that Herod was afraid of John because he knew him to be righteous and holy, so he had been keeping John in custody.

Looking at Herod's actions, we can see that, perhaps, his own pride caused him to order John's death. Not wanting to be embarrassed in front of his guests, he acted grievously. What would it have looked like if the king had gone back on his word?

This is a good lesson for all of us . . . When have I allowed my pride to be destructive to others?

Have I laughed at jokes created at the expense of others?
Have I spoken against someone so as to make myself look better?
Have I, out of a desire to please someone else, acted sinfully?

Sometimes when we read scripture, we think it isn't relevant to us today. We might be tempted to think that this is an old story about a king and a prophet. But when you look deeper at the human behavior, oftentimes we find ourselves in the account being told.

May scripture come alive for you, as you study and reflect on its message and its very real application to your own life. May it encourage you to make any changes that might draw you closer to God's way.

God bless,

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