Missing the Parade

Posted: December 9, 2013 in Mark

Mark 6:14-29, “Missing the Parade”

It’s such an interesting account in the gospels.  It tends to stand out like a sore thumb from everything that surrounds it.  After all, Mark has been writing of Jesus.  Jesus has had authority over creation, sickness, and death.  Jesus has taught the word of God with authority, and spurned the supposed need to impress the scribes & Pharisees.  He has ministered to Jews & Gentiles, cast out demons, and cleansed lepers.  People are following Him by the droves, and the question is being asked: “Could Jesus be the Messiah?”  And now, all of a sudden, Mark throws on the brakes & switches over to the death of John the Baptist.  It’s not really a story about Jesus – He is mentioned only in passing.  It’s not even a story about John.  John is the reason behind all the events here, but he isn’t really shown at all.  Instead, it’s a story about Herod – the Gentile ruler over Galilee whose lust and cowardice cost John his life.  John (as the forerunner of the Messiah) died at the hands of a cowardly ruler, just as the Messiah would later die at the hands of a coward (Pilate).  Herod was unable to stand up to his wife, just as Pilate was unable to stand up to the crowds at Jerusalem.

That’s the theological reason for the history – showing the parallel passion accounts of the forerunner & the Messiah.  But what about the content?  Why does Mark spill so much ink on this – especially when Jesus is not hardly shown in this at all?  It’s the story of someone who has heard of Jesus, but gets everything about Jesus wildly wrong.  This is a man and his family who are so consumed with themselves and their own egos that they miss the shining light of Christ that was right in front of them.  It’s as if a parade passed by their front window & they never even looked up to take notice because they were so busy looking at themselves in the mirror.  They had the gospel of Jesus right in front of them, and they turned it down flat because they were so lost in their sin.

Have you ever met someone like that?  Have you ever been someone like that?  God placed everything they needed (literally) right in front of their eyes, and they acted like they hadn’t seen a thing.  All the evidence was there, and it was all ignored – and John the Baptist was caught in the crossfire.  Keep in mind, John did all the right things for all the right reasons – and he was still killed.  His faith in Christ did not keep him from suffering – in fact, it was his faithfulness to God’s word that was the reason he was imprisoned.  Herod is without excuse for the things he did.  He willfully shut his eyes and ears to the news of Jesus, and it cost John his life.

Mark 6:14–29
14 Now King Herod heard of Him, for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.”

  1. In Mark’s narrative, the previous few verses showed Jesus sending the 12 apostles all over the nation of Judea to continue to the work that Jesus had begun in Galilee.  He gave them authority over demons, a commission from Christ the King Himself, and the power to heal in His name.  Thus they did what Jesus did, and His fame spread far & wide.
  2. In the process of Jesus’ fame growing, His name comes to the attention of Herod.  Which Herod?  This wasn’t Herod the Great (most often remembered as the king who reigned at the time of the birth of Jesus, who murdered the baby boys in Bethlehem).  Herod the Great had long ago died, which was the reason that Joseph and Mary were able to return to Judea from a time in Egypt. (Mt 2:20)  Nor was this Herod Agrippa I, who was the king that imprisoned and executed the apostle James (and was later eaten by worms – Acts 12:23). Nor was this Herod Agrippa II, whom Paul testified to, and almost persuaded to come to faith in Jesus (Acts 26:28).  (Too many Herods!) This was Herod Antipas, one of the sons of Herod the Great, who would later try to get Jesus to perform miracles for him at his asking.
    1. BTW – this particular Herod was never truly a king.  Mark describes him as one, but that seems to be due to the fact that Herod wanted so badly to be king, and demanded locally that people address him this way.  He repeatedly asked Caesar for the title, so much so that it not only irritated the emperor, but that he was accused of treason.  The people of Mark’s day knew of this history – and it’s probably in light of all of this that Mark labels him as “king.”  It provides quite the contrast to Jesus.  Herod is the man who claimed to be king of the Jews, and wasn’t, while Jesus is the Man who IS the King of the Jews, and was rejected.
  3. When Herod heard of Jesus, Herod came up with his own wild idea of who Jesus might actually be: “John the Baptist.”  Herod had his own history with John (as the text shows), but this isn’t even a logical option.  (1) John and Jesus were almost exactly the same age, being born just a few months apart.  How could John have died, and someone else come along so quickly as an adult?  He would have had to have fallen from heaven, and perhaps that was what Herod believed.  (2) Jesus had engaged in His ministry for quite some time by this point.  His and John’s ministry ran parallel to each other right up till John’s death, and surely someone would have pointed this out to Herod.  (3) It seems that Herod saw Jesus’ miraculous power, and that’s what caused him to think of John – but yet John didn’t do any miracles.  There is no biblical record anywhere of John doing anything but preaching & baptizing.  He wrote no letters & he did no supernatural miracles.  John seems to be a most unlikely choice for Jesus’ identity – the people’s option of Elijah would be far better (but still wrong).
  4. Herod – like many who actively rebel against God – is just reaching at straws.  He heard of the work of God demonstrated in power, and instead of actually paying attention to the message that accompanied it, he came up with his own explanation.  Jesus’ power was never demonstrated in a vacuum – it was always accompanied with the preaching of the gospel.  There is no way Herod could have heard about Jesus, and not have heard the claim that Jesus is the Messiah.  After all, Herod had imprisoned John the Baptist.  If ANYONE preached the coming of the Messiah, it was John!  Herod knew the truth; he simply rejected it and replaced it with his own version.
    1. That’s little different than what so many people do today.  It’s not that they don’t know the truth about Jesus; they just don’t like it.  If we were to take random interviews with people in the mall & ask them what the Bible says about Jesus, most people (especially in East Texas) would be able to say (at least) that Jesus is God and that He died on the cross.  Ask them what they personally believe about it, and you’ll come up with dozens of different answers.  They know the truth; they just haven’t received it for their own.  Instead, they’ve replaced it with their own ideas, thinking that whatever they want to believe about Jesus is their own version of truth & that’s good enough.
    2. “Good enough” may be good in horseshoes & hand-grenades, but not in issues of life & death!  Fact is fact, whether or not we choose to believe it.  Gravity is a fact, and if even if we choose to believe that our name is Superman, we will not fly when we step out the door of an airplane.  We cannot invent our own truth; we have to discover what the truth IS, and then apply it accordingly.  The truth about Jesus is that He IS God, and we have to respond to Him as God in some way.  We cannot pretend He is something else or wish Him out of existence.

15 Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.”

  1. Herod’s idea was completely illogical, and other people had their own ideas.  Who these people were is left unsaid. Perhaps they were officers in Herod’s court – perhaps these were just rumors floating around Galilee.  Remember that when Jesus took the disciples to Caesarea Philippi, He had asked them who the people said that He was.  These were some of the same answers that the disciples gave Him.  (However, when Jesus turned the question back around on the disciples personally, Peter gave a far better answer!  “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”)
  2. These answers weren’t so much dependent on the pagan idea of reincarnation (or redivivus), as they were fulfillment of prophecy.  Elijah was indeed expected to return to the people.  He had not physically died, but had been taken to heaven in a fiery chariot (2 Kings 2), and the Old Testament closes with the prophet Malachi declaring that before the day of the Lord’s judgment, God would send Elijah the prophet again to the people to bring reform to the land (Mal 4:5-6).  Elijah DID return, though not in the way that the people were expecting.  It wasn’t Jesus; it was John.  Obviously John was not the physical person of Elijah, but Jesus told the people of Galilee clearly (while John was in prison!) that John himself was part of the fulfillment of this prophecy.  John had come in the “spirit and power of Elijah,” as he preached repentance, reform, and the need to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Lord.
    1. In addition, there still yet seems to be a future ministry for Elijah.  The book of Revelation shows two unnamed witnesses standing firm for God in the rebuilt Jerusalem temple (Rev 11).  It’s quite possible that Elijah is one of these two men.
  3. The other option for the people is that Jesus was “one of the prophets.”  There had been many prophets sent by God to the people in the past, and although it had been 400 years between the last OT prophet & John the Baptist, the people thought that perhaps God had sent them not just one, but two.  And in a sense, they were correct.  God had sent two very special people to them in John the Baptist & Jesus, who did serve in prophetic roles.  God was about to send many more prophets to them after Jesus’ ascension and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  As in the days of old, many prophets would go among the people, anointed with God the Holy Spirit, proclaiming His word – and as the Church was being born, they would be going throughout Judea & Samaria proclaiming that the long-awaited Messiah had come in the person of Jesus.
    1. In that sense, God still sends prophets and prophecies today, although it might not be recognized as quickly or as accurately as in the past.  Few (if any) of those who advertise themselves as “prophets” actually ARE prophets, but God the Holy Spirit uses born-again believers to declare His word every day.  Sometimes a person knows that God has given him/her a word to say – other times, the person just says it without realizing that what they were saying was a prophecy.
  4. There seems to be a 3rd option brought up by the people, according to the NKJV.  Actually, this seems to be a questionable translation in the NKJV.  Most English translations (including KJV) have the 2nd group saying “It is A prophet, like one of the prophets.”  There is a HUGE difference between THE Prophet, and A prophet.  THE Prophet would seem to be a reference to Messianic prophecy of Moses in Deuteronomy 18:15, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your midst, from you brethren…”  This is a person rightly expected by the Jewish people, in that this Prophet would teach the word of God with the authority of God, having received His commands directly from God.  Historically, the interpretation of this prophecy was that it was a reference to the Messiah, which is exactly who Jesus is.  If this was one of the rumors circulating around about Jesus, then this is a rumor that would have actually been correct.  However, the Greek text does not directly state this at all, because there is no definite article (“the”) associated with “prophet.”  At this point, Mark doesn’t show people associating Jesus with the Deuteronomy prophecy, but rather just relegating Him to being like one of the prophets from the past.
  5. To be sure, Jesus is a prophet.  There’s no doubt He fulfilled a prophetic function.  But Jesus is vastly MORE than just a prophet!  As with the miracles He did along the lines of Elijah, yes Jesus demonstrated supernatural power.  But Jesus is vastly MORE than a miracle worker!  To relegate Jesus to only those things is to miss Jesus in His fullness, and to miss Jesus entirely.  We don’t have the right to pick & choose who Jesus might be.  He is who He is.  He is a prophet, a teacher, a miracle worker, a reformer, and He has all kinds of aspects to His identity, but ultimately He is the Messiah, the Son of God.  If our view of Jesus doesn’t take us to that point, then we haven’t gone far enough.  If we don’t see Jesus as being truly God, then we’re picking & choosing what we want to see about Him, and we’ve missed Him.
    1. That’s what Herod did, and that’s what the people did.  Don’t make the same mistake!  You’ve heard the testimony of Jesus being God the Son, who died for your sins & rose from the grave.  Don’t write it off & choose to believe something different about Jesus – only a portion about Jesus.  A Jesus who is only a prophet & nothing more cannot offer you salvation.  A Jesus who does some miracles, but cannot rise from the dead is not a Jesus who can forgive.  The only Jesus that saves is the true Jesus in all His fullness: the Living Resurrected Son of God!

16 But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!”

  1. If there sounds like there is a guilty conscience in that statement, there almost certainly was.  Despite what everyone else thought about Jesus, Herod was convinced that this could be no other person than John the Baptist.  Herod was personally responsible for John’s death, and seemingly thought that John was coming back in revenge.
  2. Of course, Herod was wrong.  There is zero Biblical basis for such an idea, and obviously Herod was thinking as a pagan might think in his panic.  However, it does show one thing: Herod had a knowledge of sin. Regardless what he thought of John’s condemnation of the things in his life, at the very least he knew that having John killed was wrong.  Apparently, he was plagued with guilt about John’s death the rest of his life, and when he experienced troubles later on (eventually being removed from office), he & the people thought it was as a result for what he did to John.
    1. God has given ALL people a knowledge of sin.  We innately know right from wrong, even if we don’t want to admit it.  All cultures around the world know things like theft & murder are wrong – they don’t have to be taught it.  Even if they believe some cases are justified, it is always wrong when they experience it for themselves.  They know it, because God has imprinted it upon their (and our) conscience.   Romans 2:14–15, "(14) for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, (15) who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them" [] When it comes to sin, we have no excuse!

17 For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. 18 Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

  1. Why was John in prison in the first place?  Because he had personally preached against the king and his wife.  Herod had married the wife of his brother Philip.  Keep in mind, that this was not the OT idea of a merciful leverite marriage, in which a widowed sister-in-law is brought into the home of the brother & children are brought up in the deceased person’s name.  First of all, Herodias was not an impoverished destitute woman who needed the financial help of her brother-in-law…but most importantly, Philip was still alive!  Herod Antipas had wooed his brother’s wife away from him.  And actually, the incest gets worse from there.  Herodias was Herod’s half-niece, the daughter of his brother Aristobolus. (There’s nothing quite like the soap-opera of royalty!)  Obviously, this was wrong on many levels!
  2. There were 2 main problems that arose from John’s preaching against Herod.  (1) Herod didn’t exactly want John telling the people that he was in sin.  Herod may not have officially had the title and power of a king, but he ruled as if he did.  To speak against a king is considered sedition, and John didn’t hesitate to engage in it when the king had flaunted the law of God.  (2) Herod was also married to the daughter of a rival king to the east, and he had illegally taken Herodias in preference to his other wife.  John’s preaching could cause major political problems for him.  Of course, that didn’t stop John from proclaiming the truth.  
  3. John was a preacher of righteousness, and when the government did things that were contrary to God’s word, John was not going to stay silent.  Neither should we.  There are things that our government might do or endorse that are contrary to what God teaches us in the Bible.  At all times we are to treat our government with respect and to pray for them, but at no time are we to think we have no obligation to stand for truth.  When our government attempts to label murderous abortion as a “choice,” we can call it what it is.  When our government tries to redefine marriage (as it has since the 70’s, starting with no-fault divorce, continuing on to today with homosexual unions), we can rightly stand on the word of God.  That’s not to say that our main focus is anything other than the gospel of Jesus Christ, but there are certain moral issues upon which our government plainly takes the wrong side.  As Christians indwelt with the Holy Spirit & informed by the Holy Scripture, we are to be salt and light in our culture (preserving & shining forth).  If WE don’t speak up for right & wrong, who will?

19 Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

  1. Whereas Herod was inconvenienced by John’s preaching, Herodias was incensed by it. Like Jezebel and Ahab in regards to the prophet Elijah, Ahab was hesitant to act against Elijah, but Queen Jezebel actively sought out his death.  It was a similar situation with the prophet who came in the spirit and power of Elijah.  The king just wanted John out of the way; the queen wanted him dead.  Herodias obviously did not have the authority of a true queen (because she wasn’t one), and despite her desires, she could not act against John without the approval of her husband.
  2. Interestingly, her husband knew that John “was a just and holy man.”  Herod Antipas “gladly” heard John preach, and “protected” John while in prison.  From Matthew’s account, it seemed that Herod also feared the multitudes, thinking that there would be an uprising if he killed an obvious prophet of the Lord. (Mt 14:4)  Yet Mark shows that Herod himself was impacted by the teaching of John.  He knew what John taught was right, only Herod did nothing to act upon it.  Neither did Herod free John, nor did Herod act upon the message of John’s to repent and receive Jesus as the Messiah.
    1. We have to wonder how many times Herod heard the gospel from the mouth of John.  This is one of the greatest preachers and evangelists in all history, along with Peter & Paul, and yet Herod still rejected the gospel of Jesus.  He had the greatest of opportunities right in front of him, and he wasted it.
  3. What the “many things” Herod did is unclear.  Actually, there is a bit of a textual debate on this from the manuscripts.  The words for “many things” and “greatly puzzled” are very similar in the Greek, and some manuscripts have one & not the other (thus the variety in the translations).  It doesn’t really change the whole point of the text, however.  Herod kept John in prison, heard John preach on a regular basis, and still Herod did nothing to help John or free him.  Herod may have been hesitant to have John killed, but he certainly had no problem keeping him under lock & key.  (Not doing all the wrong things you could do isn’t the same as actually doing the right thing!)

That’s all background – the narrative speeds up a bit as Mark gets to the sordid details of John’s death…

21 Then an opportune day came when Herod on his birthday gave a feast for his nobles, the high officers, and the chief men of Galilee.

  1. Opportune” – for whom?  For Herodias.  She had been looking for an opportunity to have John killed, and she had her chance when Herod threw a birthday party for himself.  Herod was going to have all the nobles in the region attending, and whatever he committed himself to in front of them, he was going to be bound to fulfill.  Thus the plan is hatched…

22 And when Herodias’ daughter herself came in and danced, and pleased Herod and those who sat with him, the king said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you.” 23 He also swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”

  1. The dance given by “Herodias’ daughter” Salome was likely little different than an obscene dance at a strip club today (or than something on the MTV music awards!).  It was a dance designed to inflame lust…in this case, the lust of her step-father/grand-uncle.  That the girl debased herself to do this dance (normally hired out to a servant) was bad enough – that she did it for a family member is terrible.  No doubt, this was at the direction of her mother, and we get a glimpse at the terrible dysfunction and debauchery of this family.
  2. The dance achieved the desired goal & got the attention of Herod.  In front of all of the men present, he doubly swore to give the girl whatever she wanted.  It was a foolish oath, and one that he couldn’t possibly hope to fulfill.  Herod couldn’t give away “half [his] kingdom” if he had wanted to.  He served at the pleasure of the Roman emperor – Caesar had to personally approve all transfers of power.  Yet at the height of his lust, Herod Antipas abandoned all reasonable thought & rashly said whatever came to mind.
  3. Although we might like to imagine otherwise, we live in a culture today that is not too far removed from that of Herod & the Romans.  Our culture is seemingly designed to inflame lust, and people are blinded by it every single day.  Whether it is a lust for money or stuff, or the more base forms of sexual desire, we are saturated with images and advertisement specifically designed to cause us to lust & reduce ourselves to acting like animals.  Christian, be careful!  All sin will make us do stupid things, but especially the sins that act upon sexual lust.  God has called us to so much more than that.  He has called us to so much better than that.  If we find ourselves acting (or reacting) in lust, then it is a sure sign that we are not acting according to the desire of God.  Galatians 5:22–23, "(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." []

24 So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!”

  1. Please note that the girl went out to go ask her “mother.”  This seems to indicate that her mother was behind the whole thing to begin with.  Herodias knew (better than most!) the lustful tendencies of her illicit husband, and when her daughter went in to dance, she seems to have been given instructions to report back immediately to her mother when the dance was done.  Whether or not Herodias had personally arranged for her daughter to dance, or simply give her quick instruction on how to dance when she was called is unsaid, but there is no doubt that she was involved from the start.
    1. As sad and sordid as this is, how much worse is it when the girl’s own mother is involved?  She had a responsibility to protect her daughter, but instead she acted as a pimp, just to achieve her own lusts and goals.
    2. Sadly this same thing happens every day among men & women who are addicted to drugs.  Quite often, children are put into sexual slavery in order that their parents get the drugs they desire.  It is a terrible evil, but it is a real evil that exists in our own nation.
  2. Herodias told her exactly what to ask for: “the head of John the Baptist.”  This is what she had desired all along, but had been unable to get.  Now she had her chance & she wasn’t going to waste it.  Her daughter obviously inherited her morals from her mother because she took Herodias’ request & embellished it.

25 Immediately she came in with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; yet, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him, he did not want to refuse her.

  1. Salome didn’t merely ask for John’s head, but she asked for it to be brought to her in the most grotesque of ways: “on a platter.”  Remember Herod had been throwing a birthday feast for himself – this would be a morbid addition to the various trays & platters already present.
  2. Take note of the quickness of her request. “Immediately…at once.”  She virtually demands that Herod do it at that very second.  Salome (and Herodias) understood that lust can fade quickly, and they needed to take advantage of the time while they had it.  This wasn’t something that Herod could put off until later & then change his mind.  He had promised the girl anything she desired, and she made her request to be an immediate delivery, right in front of all of the guests that Herod had invited.
  3. Not only was Herod entrapped by his lusts, but by his ego & pride.  He was the one who had invited all of the chief officials there in the first place, and he was the one who had made the rash oath in front of them all.  Now Herod believed that he had no other option other than to fulfill her request.
    1. Would it have been wrong to break a promise? Yes…but it was more wrong to commit murder.  Herod was a coward, enslaved to his own pride.

27 Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought. And he went and beheaded him in prison, 28 brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.

  1. There’s no trial, no judge, no pretense of doing anything according to the laws of Rome.  Acting like the brutal dictator he always wanted to be, Herod ordered a quick execution & the head of John the Baptist brought to the palace.  The head of the Baptist became a trophy for Herodias as it was brought to her by her own daughter.

29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.

  1. John did have his own disciples (two of which had gone to Jesus), and they came and took what was left & gave it a proper burial.  It was a tragic end to this prophet of God – a man of whom Jesus said was the greatest among men (Mt 11:11).
  2. It underscores the fact that sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Obviously no one is truly perfectly good but God, but if the relative term “good” could be applied to any normal human, surely John the Baptist would qualify!  Here was a man who had a miraculous birth, a lifetime calling from God, a faithful & fruitful ministry, the privilege of baptizing the Son of God Himself, and much more – and yet, he spent his last days wrongfully imprisoned and then brutally beheaded.  Where is the “health & wealth” gospel here?  Whatever happened to “follow God faithfully & all good things & prosperity will follow you”?  Obviously it wasn’t true with John – nor with Peter, Paul, any of the disciples, or with Jesus Himself.  Sometimes truly bad things happen to truly Godly people.  Sometimes bad things happen & there is real suffering that takes place, for seemingly no reason.  Even today, Christians are actively persecuted and killed in tragic ways.  Some names we hear of (like Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran), and multitudes of others are unnamed and unknown to all but their families and the Lord Jesus.  What do we do about this kind of suffering?  What do we do when it occurs to us?  The same thing John the Baptist & all the others do & did: keep on in faithfulness to God through the power of the Holy Spirit.  John did not let his imprisonment slow him down – nor did Peter, Paul, or any of the others.  They simply did what they could with the time & opportunity that they had.  Likewise with us.  There might be times we wish for better circumstances, but that’s not really up to us.  What IS up to us is (as in the words of JRR Tolkien), what to do with the time that we’ve been given.  How will we seek the glory of God and demonstrate the gospel of Jesus in the circumstances we DO have?  – How will Jesus be known in your cancer?  In your relationship with your prodigal child?  In the loss of your loved one?  How will you walk with Jesus in whatever suffering it is you currently face?  You cannot choose your circumstance, but you CAN choose to be faithful in it.

John stood for righteousness, and preached the gospel.  What was the result?  He was imprisoned & beheaded.  No doubt, his reward that he received in heaven is far greater – but upon the earth, he received suffering and hardship.  On the other hand, Herod ignored the preaching and the gospel right in front of his eyes, sordidly engaged in his lusts, committed murder, and went on to live another day in the lap of luxury.  But no doubt, he received far worse when he stood face-to-face with his Creator on the day of his death.

Which received better?  John!

It’s not that Herod didn’t have the opportunity to be forgiven – he did!  In fact, he had more opportunities to hear the gospel than what most people at the time might have received.  He had one of the greatest preachers and prophets of all time right at his fingertips, and despite it all, Herod turned it down.  The parade of the gospel passed by Herod’s front window, and he ignored it.  He came up with his own wild-haired explanations of Jesus & John, and plainly rejected the truth.  In doing so, he missed his opportunity to be saved.

What’s our application here?  Two-fold.  (1) For the believer in Jesus, never stop doing what is right.  Don’t give up walking in what God has called you to do…stand firm in faithfulness.  Perhaps that means suffering as a result of your faith.  God has told us in advance that all who are godly in Christ Jesus WILL suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12).  Perhaps that means simply staying faithful to Christ in the midst of tragic circumstances.  Hold fast, and trust that the Lord is going to show forth His glory in some way.

(2) For the one who has not yet believed, don’t lose your opportunity.  The time is right here in front of you.  Don’t decide to pick & choose whatever you want to believe about Jesus, choosing your sinful lusts over salvation.  See Jesus for who He is – who He has demonstrated Himself to be – and turn to Him & be saved.


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