73. John the Baptist beheaded- Matt. 14:6-12, Mark 6:21-29
-Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea (just east of the Jordan River and north of the Dead Sea) under the Roman authority. We see the fact that he was a people pleaser because of his fear of man in this account in Scripture. He feared the crowds because they regarded John as a prophet, and could possibly revolt against him. He feared his lords and had John killed to uphold his reputation before them because of his oath. This petrifying fear was generational from his father, who was extremely paranoid and suspecting of any uprising against his ambiguous kingship and authority. He was also foolish with his words and made promises he should not have made. His decision to have John beheaded was expedient and in his view the lesser of two evils (or in other words fears of man). For him it was either go back on his word in front of his leadership and appease the populace who regarded John as a prophet, or have him killed and have the believers in John upset. He chose to have John’s life taken; thereby committing murder against the Lord. Jesus later encounters Herod Antipas and had no words for him during His trial in Jerusalem (Luke 23:7-11). When Jesus did not respond to Herod’s inquisitions in an effort to see a sign, Herod mocked the Lord and treated Him with contempt. Jesus knew that if he had rejected the messenger (John), He would have nothing to add to the words John had already given him. Herod’s chance for redemption had passed and there was no hope for this people pleaser. Afterwards, sadly the disciples came and took John’s headless body and buried him in a tomb. John the Baptist was a prophetic martyr for the cause of the Kingdom. *Application* How expedient (advantageous for practical rather than moral reasons) are you in your decision making? Do you consider what is right before the Lord in making your choices? Life is about our choices and we either reap the benefit or bear the consequence for every decision. John the Baptist feared God and spoke the truth; Herod pleased people and was eternally doomed more than likely.
Verse to Memorize- Mark 6:26
74. Jesus sends out the twelve disciples to preach- Matt. 10:5-42; 11:1, Mark 6:7-13, Luke 9:1-6
-Jesus gave very specific instructions before sending out His twelve disciples to preach the gospel, implore people to repent, heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. They were to travel light and receive from the righteous along their journeys. They were told to go everywhere in the land of Israel, but not yet to the Gentiles or any city of the Samaritans (a half Jewish population hated because of inbreeding). Jesus had strong words for them and those they came in contact with, which need to be internalized by us in our own day and age. He warned of the persecution and whole hearted devotion that was required to be Kingdom workers. The disciples knew that it was a dying to self and walking in His power and authority that was the key after Jesus taught them. Jesus, recognizing and preparing them for the difficulties they would face in testifying of His goodness and Deity, spoke of endurance and a steadfast spirit, of not giving up or in. He taught them not to fear man, but God, who was the keeper of their souls. They were to be bold in their presentation and confess His Name unashamedly without worry. Soon they would see the power of the Holy Spirit on their lives and feel His continual presence with them, which gives wisdom and grace in each situation. *Application* Our lives should be modeled around this instruction for our own lives. The disciples were people just like us and had to mature to be all that God wanted them to be. We also can do the same. Be a strong Christian!
Verses to Memorize- Matthew 10:8, 20, 22, 26, 37-39, Mark 6:12
75. Herod compares Jesus to John the Baptist- Matt. 14:1-2, Mark 6:14-16, Luke 9:7-9
-We see the paranoia in Herod here as he contemplates what he had done to a man of God. He fears somewhat for his future, and Luke tells that he was seeking to see Jesus continually. It is interesting that Herod had heard the news of Jesus and of the things that were going on in His ministry. We see the perplexity of this worldly leader as he grapples with the testimonies and eye witnesses who bring news of the Man of God, who they couldn’t quite figure out. Besides John the Baptist’s reincarnation, word of Elijah’s return was being discussed, so there was certainly some debate and intrigue going on around this region as the Son of God made Himself known to man. *Application* How hard do you seek out the truth of a matter. Jesus said, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).” When you need answers, find Jesus in His Word and you will know all the answers because His Spirit will reveal all things to you (John 14:26).
Verse to Memorize- Mark 6:16