Sunday 15 July 2012

Bible Book:

"For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, 'It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.'" (vv. 17-18)

Mark 6:14-29 Sunday 15 July 2012


The context of this passage in Mark's Gospel isfound in the previous few verses, where Jesus' ministry is findingexpression in the mission of his 12 closest disciples (Mark6:7-13). This is a mission of proclaiming, healing and the needfor repentance; and almost inevitably brings Jesus and hisfollowers to the attention of those in power.

We read in today's verses just how unsettled KingHerod was about this news of Jesus. People around Herod werevoicing the thoughts and opinions of the 'man on the street',saying that Jesus may be in the line of the old prophets, or evenElijah - or just possibly John the Baptist raised from the dead(verses 14-16). Why should this be so disturbing to Herod? Markthen tells his readers the story of John's death, on Herod'sorders. It was seemingly against Herod's conscience, but deemednecessary in order to maintain prestige amongst the political elitein Galilee (verse 26). Can we be sure that Herod was undulyconcerned about what had happened to John? Not conclusively; butHerod's reaction to what Jesus was doing indicates that he wasactually very disturbed.

At the heart of this passage is the conflictbetween knowing the truth and speaking out boldly; and knowing thetruth and, for whatever reason, rejecting it. In Herod's case, hehad used his power to marry unlawfully; compounded this byimprisoning John, even when "knowing that he was a righteous andholy man" (v. 20) because John dared to speak the truth; andfinally Herod had John killed to keep up the appearance of power,honour and prestige amongst his political chums.

Jesus himself will get caught up in the politicalpower game later, and truth will again be on trial. However, fromthe temptations onwards (Matthew 4:1-11), the Gospels consistently showus that Jesus never played the political power game. Truth wasalways far more important.


To Ponder

  • What part does truth play in your life and discipleship?
  • Do we know ourselves well enough to understand when we feelable to stand up for what is right; when and why we stay silent;and when, why and with whom we actually do things contrary to ourconscience?
Previous Page Saturday 28 July 2012
Next Page Monday 16 July 2012