“It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

We are back on track today as we continue with Mark (6:14-29 — yesterday’s regularly scheduled reading [Jesus sending out the apostles by twos to preach, exorcise, anoint the sick, and cure — vv. 7-13] was skipped due to the feast day).  Here King Herod is musing about the true identity of Jesus as He gains popularity.  Herod is convinced Jesus is John the Baptist, who Herod had killed.  This provides Mark an opportunity to relay the story of John’s demise due to Herodias’s dance, Herod’s vow to give her anything she wanted, and Herodias’s mother’s request (upon her consulting with Herodias) that John be beheaded.  John was imprisoned because of his words (above) to the king.  He stood strong in the face of wrongdoing, clearly speaking the truth regardless of the consequences, which he undoubtedly knew could end up being death.  While it is unlikely we will face the possibility of death for standing up for the truth, the threat of persecution is very real today — and is on the rise — regardless of where one resides.  John the Baptist is an example for all generations of speaking the truth in love.  He wished that the Jewish king would confess, repent, and reform his life.  So we should do the same for the modern day Herods who profess faith but rule, legislate, and live far from it.

 

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