John the Baptist Beheaded
Jesus Freaks – p.136
Neither are pleasant stories.
1999 – 164,000 Christian martyrs, more than in 100AD in the RE.
What’s happening in the story?
· Jesus’ rejection
· Disciples sent out
· Ministry beginning to gather pace
· Just before feeding of 5,000 & walking on water
Both Mark and Matthew throw this flashback in.
The only non-Jesus story in the Mark’s Gospel…
Herod – not Herod the Great – hears about Jesus.
Herod Antipas, the tetrarch, the other Herod’s son, ruler of Galilee.
Herod isn’t really a King, nor is he popular.
Herod has married his brother’s wife – Herodias.
Divorced his first wife, and Herodias has left her husband to marry Herod – completely against Levitical law.
Everyone would have known and known it was wrong.
John spoke out.
John was a very popular figure – number of baptised.
John has made an enemy of Herod and more significantly Herodias…
John locked up – not killed, as Herod ‘likes’ to listen to him.
The grizzly part!
A foolish oath by a foolish oaf!
Herodias seizes her opportunity.
Herod’s reaction is all too predictable.
So, what to make of it all?
1. John wasn’t just standing up for a moral principle.
v.17 gives his argument – rest of ministry expands upon it.
Herod Antipas like Herod the GreatHerod the Great.
Wants to be king, the real king - king of the Jews.
Planning to rebuild the temple – not possible though!
John was talking of a very different kind of kingship and kingdom!
Matthew 11 – John sends his disciples to Jesus.
Jesus is the One – John points to Jesus.
Herod points to himself, and shows himself to be short of the mark.
Do our lives point to Jesus?
What are the things we stand against?
What are the things we stand for?
2. Discipleship is costly as well as rewarding – Mark’s message.
Mark places this story just as things are beginning to get exciting.
Being a disciple isn’t just about the miraculous, the exciting and the triumphant.
Some of Jesus’ teaching on being a disciple is hard to hear.
It doesn’t allow us to have a part-time faith.
“Take up your cross.”
“You will never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”