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Death of John the Baptist
Text: Matthew 14:3-12
This Herod is Herod the tetrarch, son of Herod the Great. This is not the Herod that killed the babies when Jesus was born. This is the Herod that would send Jesus back to Pilate before the crucifixion in Luke 23:7-12, 15. This is possibly the Herod that had James killed in Acts 12. Which would make him the same Herod that was eaten by worms while giving a majestic speech in Acts 12. Acts 13:1 Saul (Paul) is apparently part of Herod’s palace.
Conviction of sin (vss 3-4)
- It’s one thing to preach about sin, but another thing to preach about your sin
- Herod persecutes John because his girlfriend doesn’t like John’s preaching. Herodias doesn’t like John preaching against her relationship with Herod.
- People have convictions about relationships where they have no convictions about truth. Herodias has strong feelings about her relationship with Herod such that the truth and God’s opinion about her relationship will be bulldozed by her feelings. When the voice of truth speaks to HER sin, her response is to silence the voice – kill him!
- You need Jesus Christ because of your sin. If when your SIN is pointed out you protest, you can’t be saved by Jesus Christ until you actually have sin.
- Babylon Bee headline – “Woman Unsure Why She Needs Jesus After Preacher Spends 30 Minutes Telling Her How Amazing She Is”
Fear of man (vs 5)
- Herod fears everyone but God. He was afraid of the people, afraid of his wife, afraid of John the Baptist coming back to life, afraid of his conscience, but not afraid of God.
- Proverbs 29:25
- Principles are made slave to pressures. Environment that is not conducive to the truth
Foolish obligations (vss 6-9)
- Herod makes a promise while everyone is having fun at this party. He opens his mouth and says something stupid that has consequences beyond what he wanted.
- Get you overextended or compromised so you are entangled with affairs of someone else in an unwise way.
- He wants to get you tied to a sinking ship.
Giving place to the devil (vs 10)
- John the Baptist is beheaded because Herodias didn’t like his preaching. This man is going to die in prison because Herodias was angry.
- Uncontrolled emotions bring ruin – Proverbs 16:32
- Uncontrolled emotions become sin – Proverbs 29:22
- Uncontrolled emotions become idols
- You do what you can to nurse that feeling. Herodias nurses this hatred.
- How about anger in this case? Justify revenge. Payback consumes your thoughts.
- Uncontrolled emotions affect physical health
- Uncontrolled emotions affect social reputation – Proverbs 21:19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
- Now, remember the people view John as a prophet. Herod originally doesn’t kill John because of the political backlash. So you know when Herod has John killed he has to give some storyline to the people about why John has been killed.
- Convenient day means it was convenient to get John killed (Mark 6:21)
Correct your expectations (vss 11-12)
- This is absolutely terrible what happens to John. And when you consider the reason that it happened, because some influential woman was offended it makes it even worse. But it should serve to focus your understanding of Christ’s promises. And it should serve to give you a more clear and true expectation in this life. With a right perspective it’ll toughen your mind up. It’ll keep you from getting bitter and depressed because of unreasonable expectations.
- When John the Baptist said Christ must increase, but he must decrease, being imprisoned and murdered by the state was not what John had in mind.