Today, King Herod Antipas takes center stage, along with his pride, lust and selfishness. I’ll explain his background in a bit. Here we also see the perseverance and persistence of John the Baptist, in standing his ground amidst persecution. Let’s dig in…
Mark 6:14-29 – the Death of John the Baptist
14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”
And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”
“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.
25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.Mark 6:14-29 NIV
Who’s Important Here?
Let’s get to know these characters first…
Who was King Herod Antipas?
Herod Antipas was the son of King Herod the Great, who was king when Jesus was born and committed the genocide of innocent babies. All in attempts to kill the baby Jesus, of whom he was threatened as King of the Jews. We find that story in Matthew 2, which was prophesied by the Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah.
All the Kings of the Herodian Dynasty were puppet kings. Rome appointed them. They weren’t even Jewish. They were Edomites — descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. There was always animosity between them and the Jews. Edom doesn’t even exist today. Its lands are part of Jordan now.
In reality, King Herod Antipas was a pagan. He didn’t know what to make of Jesus. He was confused. He had John the Baptist beheaded! Yet, the locals could not stop talking about Jesus.
Who is this Jesus?
All this talk about Jesus bothered King Herod. Word got around that there were miraculous healings and people risen from the dead. Let’s break down who they thought Jesus was…
- John the Baptist risen from the dead? King Herod knew he had the guy beheaded. How could this be?
- The Prophet Elijah? Everyone knew the stories of the Prophet Elijah that he was the first person to be raptured. He never died, but was whisked away to heaven. Jews still expect Elijah to return to herald the coming Messiah.
- A prophet? Why a prophet? Jewish prophecy ceased with Malachi in 430 BC. God was silent for 500 years. We have to go into the Apocryphal books, which are historical, not God-breathed, to the story of the first Hanukkah in 1 Maccabees…
27 There was great distress in Israel, the likes of which had not been since the days when the prophets ceased to appear among them.1 Maccabees 9:27 NCB
The Jews believed their Messiah was coming, they just didn’t see Jesus as Him. In a couple of chapters, Peter will be asked “Who do YOU say that I am,” and he’ll answer correctly. Subscribe so you don’t miss out on the rest of our walk with Jesus to the cross.
John the Baptizer
He was the voice shouting in the wilderness announcing the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. John’s birth was announced in Luke 1. He’s ministry is in all 4 Gospels… Luke 3, Matthew 3, John 1, Mark 1. His message was of repentance — pure and simple.
The problem was — and it was the same with Jesus — the people following them wanted entertainment.
Nevertheless, John had the spirit of Elijah, as Jesus explained…
11 “Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. 12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.”Matthew 17:11-12 NLT
God warned us through Ezekiel centuries prior…
30 “Son of man, your people talk about you in their houses and whisper about you at the doors. They say to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go hear the prophet tell us what the Lord is saying!’ 31 So my people come pretending to be sincere and sit before you. They listen to your words, but they have no intention of doing what you say. Their mouths are full of lustful words, and their hearts seek only after money. 32 You are very entertaining to them, like someone who sings love songs with a beautiful voice or plays fine music on an instrument. They hear what you say, but they don’t act on it! 33 But when all these terrible things happen to them—as they certainly will—then they will know a prophet has been among them.”Ezekiel 33:30-33 NLT
Back to King Herod…
Pastor Sandy Adams describes him further…
Herod Antipas was a seedy, immoral man. On a visit to Rome he fell in love with his half-brother’s wife, Herodias. He divorced his wife, and stole Herodias from his brother… She was not only his sister-in-law, she was also his niece… Add it all up, and the king was guilty of divorce, adultery, and incest.
Herod turned Israel’s royal house into a soap opera, but John called him on the carpet. John was fearless. Intimidated by no one, he took on this ruthless king.
In his own warped way, Herod respected John… He was a politician who based his decisions on the latest poll. In contrast, John had integrity. The two men couldn’t be more opposite.
Yet despite Herod’s admiration of John, Herodias hated the Baptist with a vengeance. She was a wicked, wily queen who didn’t like being publicly rebuked.
The dance was a strip tease. Herodias’ daughter’s name was Salome. Usually these seductive dances were performed by prostitutes. It was rare for a princess – a woman of social standing – to perform such a dance.
Realize, too, Herod had an out. He promised her “up to half (his) kingdom.” He could’ve said John was worth more than half, but lust and pride warps your values. You throw away what’s precious for a few empty sips of what’s cheap. It’s a terrible trade off.Sandy Adams
Understand, that even though John was in prison, that didn’t stop him from telling King Herod and Herodias what sinners they were. They needed to repent. Herodias was sick of hearing it. King Herod, was impressed by what John had to say. Herod was torn, but he had a reputation to uphold. Hence, John’s death due to pride, vanity, lust, hatred and selfishness.
Imprisoned Christians Keep Preaching
Daily, I read the stories of my Christian brothers and sisters around the world who stand up to their faith no matter what. Living in America, the persecution we have here is minor, though annoying, compared to Christians in top 50 countries on Open Doors’ World Watch List. The top 3 are…
- Afghanistan, which is now #1 thanks to Joe Biden’s debacle exit last year. Yes, it’s 100% his fault!
- North Korea
Voice of the Martyrs held an inspiring virtual conference with 3 speakers who told their stories of being imprisoned for their Christian faith. All three of them did not keep silent. All three were tortured. All three survived. They spoke of Jesus’ salvation to fellow inmates as well as prison guards, officers and judges. I highly recommend you watch it.
The 3rd Organization you should follow is International Christian Concern. Here is a recent press release from them. By the way, you won’t see this in the lame-stream media news…
Two Pastors Jailed in Central India
03/28/2022 India (International Christian Concern) – Yesterday, two Christian pastors were jailed on alleged forced conversion charges in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh. A mob of radical Hindu nationalists broke into the worship hall in Rajouti village and assaulted the congregation during Sunday worship. During the chaos created by the nationalists, nearly 15 policemen came into the church and arrested the pastor and a member of his congregation. The two Christians were later sent to Jaspur jail.Read the rest of the article here…
Why do YOU go to church?
- For the show?
- For the music?
- An entertaining message?
- To be seen?
- To see who’s there?
- For the food?
- For spiritual nourishment?
- To fellowship — socialize and get connected to other Christian believers?
- To serve?
- Because you’re a seeker and you’re not sure?
March 2022 marks 16 years that I was baptized at First Christian Church of Phoenix (FCC) — and that’s still my church home. I felt the Spirit when I first walked into that church. I’ve visited others, but I always come back to FCC. You’ll find me every Sunday at 9 am MST, running Facebook Live. Why don’t you join us and drop a note!
King Herod didn’t repent because he didn’t want to change his lifestyle and stop sinning. That’s the main excuse for most people. Moreover, that’s how they end up in a woke church that is “open and affirming” and condones whatever sinful lifestyle you enjoy. Attending a church doesn’t make you a Christian just like sitting in a bank doesn’t make you rich.
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.