Thursday, July 8, 2021

Friday prior to Proper 10


Mark 6:14-29 Mad king Herod had John the Baptist killed to honor an oath, to save face in front of his dinner guests, to quiet a man who firmly told him that his illicit affair with his sister-in-law was sinful. (Yes! You read that correctly!) And what's more it was shameful to honor Herodias’ request. 

The story of the beheading of John the Baptist reminds us that the way of sin always leads to destruction. Offense casts a web. For which we cannot easily escape. John’s death speaks about the reality in which we live. - A broken and fallen world. – Outside of Eden.

Herodias held a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she could not.  Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man.  Antipas protected John. When Antipas heard him he was greatly perplexed. And yet he liked to listen to him.

John was a just man, a holy man, a complete good man.  Herod knew this. What was lacking in his own character he saw in John; and this frightened him. John was a man sent from God, a man of God, a man for God.

Herod Antipas wanted to please his guests. He wanted to please his wife. And he was afraid of this desert preacher. So he locked him up. He shut him down. He attempted to silence him. But John’s words still haunted him.

Verse 20 is the key verse. Although Herod knew he was doing wrong, his conscious bothered him, and John’s words condemned him Herod was still drawn to listen to John. When we are overcome by the fear of confronting someone, we can be comforted in the fact that the Law does convict. God through the preaching of the Law prepares us to hear, understand and savor the Gospel. John the forerunner of Christ will preach, baptize and die all like Christ. First he must die. With the death of John now, the cross becomes the focus of Christ’s destiny. 

Collect for Proper 10 – Lord, You granted Your prophets strength to resist the temptations of the devil and courage to proclaim repentance. Give us pure hearts and minds to follow Your Son faithfully even into suffering and death; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.[2]- 09 July 2021

[1] The Beheading of John the Baptist, Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut copyright ©  WELS used with permission

[2] Collect for Proper 10, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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