Mark 6:17-29 reads like a soap opera:
- King Herod marries his brother’s wife, Herodius – and his brother is still alive! (Mark 6:17)
- Herod imprisoned John the Baptist for speaking out against the king’s immoral conduct (Mark 6:18)
- Herodius wanted John dead (Mark 6:19)
- Herod feared John and protected him because he knew John was a righteous man (Mark 6:20)
- Herod throws a big party where where the daughter of Herodius danced for them (Mark 6:21-22)
- In his pride – and to impress his dinner guests – Herod offers her anything she wants (Mark 6:22-23)
- Herodius tells her daughter to demand John’s head on a platter (Mark 6:24-25)
- 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 6:26-28)
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:
- Are there inappropriate relationships in your life that you need to end in order to regain integrity in your life?
- Have you made rash, irresponsible promises that you could not, in good conscience, keep?
- 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.