King Herod ordered that John the Baptist should be beheaded. This is a tragic event that takes place in the middle of Jesus public ministry.
John was imprisoned by Herod. Herod’s wife, Herodias, was tired of hearing from John. You see Herod had married his brother Philip’s wife… Herodias. John had been saying, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Herodias was angry with John and looked for the opportunity to have him killed. Herod would not kill John because he feared John. Herod feared John because Herod knew John to be a righteous and holy man.
Herod was perplexed by John but also gladly listened to him. The historian Josephus wrote that Herod imprisoned John at Machaerus, a fortress overlooking the Dead Sea.
Herodias found her opportunity when Herod held a party. Herodias’ daughter danced and pleased Herod and his guests. Herod said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you, up to half of my kingdom”
Herod might have been speaking in a drunken stupor filled with hyperboles but nonetheless Herodias was not going to let this moment pass by.
The girl consulted with her mother and then said to Herod, “The head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
Herod was exceedingly sorry but he did not want to break an oath in front of all of his guests. The head of John the Baptist was handed to the girl and she gave it to her mother.
This is a wicked story that can strain the room we give to God to show how He is at work in this world. I want God to step in the way of these kinds of wicked moments and stop them from happening. Why do such horrible moments have to happen? Is there not a different way God can work to reveal His plan of salvation for us?
These kinds of difficult events may strain our faith in God as powerful and at work in this world, but it is important for me to remember it is precisely because of these kinds of moments that Jesus has come into our world.
God does not abandon us to our terrible sins. He does not separate himself from this dismal world but remarkably becomes flesh and dwells among us. Immanuel – God is with us.
The Word of our Lord God endures forever and the wicked moments of our sinful world will not stop Jesus from carrying our burdens and giving us rest.