Whom Do You Fear?
Lord God, as I come to Your Word now, I pray: “Show me your paths and teach me to follow” (see Psa. 25:4).
Read Mark 6:14-29
 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”  Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”  But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”  For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married.  For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”  So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to,  because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.  Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee.  When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.”  And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”  She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.  At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”  The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.  So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison,  and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.  On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWho did Herod fear that Jesus might be? Why?
In this passage we meet two very different men. Herod just couldn’t understand John. He was puzzled and perplexed by him (20). John didn’t think like other people; he didn’t react the same; his priorities were all different. Here was a man who wore clothes of camel hair and ate locusts (Matt. 3:4), but somehow spoke with authority. Thousands listened to him and followed his teaching, yet he remained humble.
Herod had position and power. People listened to him just as they did to John. They obeyed Herod out of fear; John they obeyed because they chose to. Herod feared John’s authority. He feared John because John did not fear him.
Herod was king; yet he was utterly powerless if a young girl could make him do whatever she wanted. He was king; but he was a slave to the opinions of others and easily manipulated. He was afraid of John, but he was more afraid of his guests. John, on the other hand, was a prisoner; yet he was free. He could still choose to live righteously and to preach righteousness. His body was in chains, but his mind and heart were free.
Ask God to show you if you are in any way a “prisoner” to the opinions of others. If you are, pray to be free.
Lord, help me to have the courage to live freely for You in every way, no matter what others think.