Monday 30 August 2021

Bible Book:

(v. 12)

Matthew 14:1-12 Monday 30 August 2021

Psalm 126


Today we commemorate the beheading of John the Baptist. This is marked at the end of the church year because Jesus began his public ministry after John had been arrested (Mark 1:14). If your circuit has a new minister this year, I hope the previous occupant of the manse is still alive! Some circuits, however, will have found themselves in stationing because of the death of a minister - which can happen sometimes very unexpectedly. New supernumeraries may also be feeling a sense of loss and dislocation as their active ministry finishes. So, pausing to remember the end of John the Baptist’s life and ministry is an important act of solidarity.

 Herod’s desire to please other people drives his decision-making. In verse five we are told that he “wanted to put John to death but feared the crowd”. In verse nine we are told that he was grieved by the request for John’s head on a platter but went ahead “out of regard for his oath and for the guests”. John the Baptist, on the other hand, was not swayed by what other people might think. He was prepared to question the legitimacy of Herod’s marriage to Herodias, even though this would lead to his own imprisonment.

The impetuous drive of the bulk of this passage stands in sharp contrast to the quiet dignity of the final verse. This short factual report of what happened next leaves us to imagine for ourselves the emotional impact on John’s disciples and Jesus. If we go on to read verse 13, we discover that Jesus needed some time on his own to begin to process the news of John’s death.


To Ponder:

  • Do you remember the dates of deaths and endings as well as the dates of births and beginnings? How do you mark such anniversaries?
  • What are the driving factors in your decision-making?


We hold in our hearts all who are giving or receiving bad news today.

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