Monday, September 3, 2012

Sending Lived Out

Mark [6.14] King Herod heard of all this, for by this time the name of Jesus was on everyone’s lips. He said, “This has to be John the Baptizer come back from the dead—that’s why he’s able to work miracles!” [6.15] Others said, “No, it’s Elijah.” Others said, “He’s a prophet, just like one of the old-time prophets.” [6.16] But Herod wouldn’t budge: “It’s John, sure enough. I cut off his head, and now he’s back, alive.” [6.17-20]

Lord Jesus--Prophets are inconvenient people at least by the estimation of Herod. The first thing that Herod thought of was John when he heard of you. For Herod there was guilt and the knowledge of sin. Somehow that is amazing for this despot to know that his actions were wrong speaks volumes.

Sin unresolved is like that. It infects and brings a jaundiced view of the world. Herod could not escape the reality of his past and the weight of his failures. His view of  you was impacted by his reaction to John.

Herod was the one who had ordered the arrest of John, put him in chains, and sent him to prison at the nagging of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery.” Herodias, smoldering with hate, wanted to kill him, but didn’t dare because Herod was in awe of John. Convinced that he was a holy man, he gave him special treatment. Whenever he listened to him he was miserable with guilt—and yet he couldn’t stay away. Something in John kept pulling him back.

Lord Jesus--Herod was pulled again and again back to John.  While John was in the dark, miserable prison of Herod, he was impacting this tyrant king.  He may not have known it in his prison cell...with the rats and the stink but he was on the king's mind.  We know that John had questions in his prison cell as he heard of your ministry.

John, I am sure,  would have love to see the sun, the sea and the sand but that was not where he found himself. He was in a cell, in the dark, with his thoughts and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

[6.21-22] But a portentous day arrived when Herod threw a birthday party, inviting all the brass and bluebloods in Galilee. Herodias’s daughter entered the banquet hall and danced for the guests. She dazzled Herod and the guests. [6.22-23] The king said to the girl, “Ask me anything. I’ll give you anything you want.” Carried away, he kept on, “I swear, I’ll split my kingdom with you if you say so!” [6.24] She went back to her mother and said, “What should I ask for?” “Ask for the head of John the Baptizer.” [6.25] Excited, she ran back to the king and said, “I want the head of John the Baptizer served up on a platter. And I want it now!” [6.26-29] That sobered the king up fast. But unwilling to lose face with his guests, he caved in and let her have her wish. The king sent the executioner off to the prison with orders to bring back John’s head. He went, cut off John’s head, brought it back on a platter, and presented it to the girl, who gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and got the body and gave it a decent burial.
Herod's Tomb

Lord Jesus--So what do want me to take away from this sad   vignette  of guilt, murder, and pain?  Maybe that...sin is not just a personal choice. Sin is also systemic and invasive it colors our culture and our way of looking at the world.

Was it a personal choice that Herod made when he gave the word for John murder?  Sure, that an more...

In the end it was the king's pride that brought him to murdering John.  It was an intoxicating mixture of pride, control, and lust with a bit of the fruit of the vine mixed in that lead him to order John's death. Death and ultimately judgement found Herod even with all his power that he held over John.

John lived out his mission with questions.  The greatest prophet ended his life with question marks intact.  It didn't work out exactly like he may have thought it should. Yet, he was faithful to the sending.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30727-30729). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

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