Mark 6: 14-29
VV 14-18, 14Now 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.”15 Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.”16 But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” 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.”
Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch who ruled Galilee and Perea, was one of the sons of Herod the Great, who massacred all the male babies in Bethlehem under two years old (Mathew 2:16). Herod Antipas thought Jesus was John the Baptist who had resurrected to life. Others thought Jesus was Elijah or one of the prophets. Herod Antipas married his half-brother Philip’s wife, Herodias. John the Baptist rebuked Herod for unlawfully marrying his half-brother’s wife.
VV 19-23, 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. 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. 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.”
Herodias was a wicked woman who wanted to kill John the Baptist. During Herod’s birthday, she got her daughter Salome to perform an erotic dance in front of Herod Antipas. After this, Herod was so pleased, he told the girl that he could give her whatever she wanted.
VV 24-29, ‘’24 So she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist!” 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. 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. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took away his corpse and laid it in a tomb.’’
Salome replied that she wanted John the Baptist’s head on a platter. Herod Antipas regretted it, but because he did not want to go back on his words, he ordered the beheading of John the Baptist. When the disciples of John the Baptist heard about this, they came and took away his corpse and buried him in a tomb.
Heavenly Father, thank You once again for the privilege of sitting at Your feet to hear Your word. Thank You for freedom to worship, freedom to learn, and freedom to share the gospel, in Jesus’ name, Amen.