March 22, 2021

John the Baptist Beheaded

Mark 6:14-29

[King Herod] sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, [and] beheaded John in the prison. . . .

—  Mark 6:27

People usually like to hide their secrets.

King Herod and Herodias, for example, were not legally married, because Herodias was still married to Herod’s ­brother. But they didn’t want people to know that.

So when John the Baptist pointed out their wrongdoing, Herod arrested John and put him in prison. Herodias, nursing a grudge, wanted to kill John, but Herod was afraid to do that, knowing John was a prophet.

But then an opportunity came when Herodias’s daughter danced for King Herod on his birthday. In return, Herod promised to give her whatever she wanted.

So she asked her mother, “What shall I ask for?”

And Herodias said, “The head of John the Baptist.”

So Herod, not wanting to be embarrassed in front of his guests, had John beheaded.

Herod was a foolish man who chose to ignore the truth and tried to do whatever he pleased. Could he have been forgiven? Yes, if he wanted to repent and obey God, he could have been forgiven, even for his terrible crimes. But Herod chose to ignore the message of John, about repentance and forgiveness, and John suffered by losing his life at the hands of this wicked king.

How should we live our lives today? If all we want to do is please ourselves, we will only hurt others and the Lord.

Lord God, by your grace, please forgive us our sins, and lead us to honor you with our whole lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

About the author — Jang Ho Park

Jang Ho Park is a pastor in Tacoma, Washington. He and his wife, Jong Boon, have two sons.

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