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author on April 8th, 2009

Mark 6:17-29Mark 6:17-29
English: World English Bible - WEB

17 For Herod himself had sent out and arrested John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him, but she couldn’t, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he did many things, and he heard him gladly. 21 Then a convenient day came, that Herod on his birthday made a supper for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and those sitting with him. The king said to the young lady, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” 23 He swore to her, “Whatever you shall ask of me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 She went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” She said, “The head of John the Baptizer.” 25 She came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptizer on a platter.” 26 The king was exceedingly sorry, but for the sake of his oaths, and of his dinner guests, he didn’t wish to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent out a soldier of his guard, and commanded to bring John’s head, and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the young lady; and the young lady gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard this, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb.

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reads like a soap opera:

  • King Herod marries his brother’s wife, Herodius – and his brother is still alive! (Mark 6:17Mark 6:17
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    17 For Herod himself had sent out and arrested John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for he had married her.

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    )
  • Herod imprisoned John the Baptist for speaking out against the king’s immoral conduct (Mark 6:18Mark 6:18
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

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  • Herodius wanted John dead (Mark 6:19Mark 6:19
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    19 Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him, but she couldn’t,

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  • Herod feared John and protected him because he knew John was a righteous man (Mark 6:20Mark 6:20
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he did many things, and he heard him gladly.

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    )
  • Herod throws a big party where where the daughter of Herodius danced for them (Mark 6:21-22Mark 6:21-22
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    21 Then a convenient day came, that Herod on his birthday made a supper for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and those sitting with him. The king said to the young lady, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.”

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    )
  • In his pride – and to impress his dinner guests – Herod offers her anything she wants (Mark 6:22-23Mark 6:22-23
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    22 When the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and those sitting with him. The king said to the young lady, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” 23 He swore to her, “Whatever you shall ask of me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.”

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    )
  • Herodius tells her daughter to demand John’s head on a platter (Mark 6:24-25Mark 6:24-25
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    24 She went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” She said, “The head of John the Baptizer.” 25 She came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptizer on a platter.”

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    )
  • Though distressed, the king was more concerned for his reputation than doing what is right – He executed John and brought his head on a platter to Herodius’ daughter (Mark 6:26-28Mark 6:26-28
    English: World English Bible - WEB

    26 The king was exceedingly sorry, but for the sake of his oaths, and of his dinner guests, he didn’t wish to refuse her. 27 Immediately the king sent out a soldier of his guard, and commanded to bring John’s head, and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the young lady; and the young lady gave it to her mother.

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    )

In his pride, in his desire to be seen as important, Herod was faced with a decision: do what is right and be embarrassed by his rash promises, or do what is wrong by shedding innocent blood. He made an unwise choice, and later his hardened heart is demonstrated by how he treated Jesus.

There are many lessons to be gained by this soap opera, but let’s just think on three:

  1. Are there inappropriate relationships in your life that you need to end in order to regain integrity in your life?
  2. Have you made rash, irresponsible promises that you could not, in good conscience, keep?
  3. Is your pride so great that you’ll harm others to save face?

I encourage you to consider these questions and the chain of events which led to Herod’s hardened heart. Though he may have prospered temporarily on earth, his eternity likely turned out much differently. And we’ll all be in eternity a lot longer than we’ll be on earth.