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Mark 6: 14-20

Here in this passage one of God’s greatest prophets dies…and as He always does…God uses this death to try and teach us some valuable lessons. Let’s learn.

As this passage begins, you will remember from the previous verses that Jesus has sent his disciples out to preach, and heal and to cast out demons.

Now as the word of what Christ and His disciples had been doing reaches the people they begin trying to reason as to who this Jesus was, and how these miracles were being done and so, in vs. 14 they say “John the Baptizer has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Christ.”

But when Herod heard of what was taking place, he kept saying, “John whom I beheaded, has risen!”

Well, look at the next verse, vs. 17…God tells us why Herod was saying what he was saying.

“For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested, and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

Now, let me explain the situation here between Herod and Herodias.

Anyway, Antipas and his wife go to Rome for some government business and they stay with his half brother Philip who is married to Herodias.

Now the Law of Moses in Deut. 25 and Leviticus 20: 21 says quite clearly that you cannot marry your brother’s wife unless your brother has died and he has born no children by this woman.

Well the fact of the matter is, Herod is an Edomite….

But that is not new.

Now, notice in verse 18 the text says, speaking of John, that, “He had been saying.”

But John didn’t do any of that.

But then he does something interesting.

But now Herodias on the other hand doesn’t like John at all.

In verse 21 it is birthday time.

She had thought through exactly how to manipulate her husband.

Now, let me explain what is going on here.

But this time is a little different.

She sends in her own daughter…Herod’s own stepdaughter.

So the little girl goes back to momma and says, “Momma, what should I do?”

But, I want you to notice something. Look in verse 25.

So, she takes advantage of his drunkenness.

And, even though her request made Herod “very sorry”, after all, he knows that John is a righteous and holy man.

But Herod has a fear that is even greater than his fear of John and that is his fear that those at his party will think him weak if he doesn’t keep his oath.

So, Herod silences John once and for all.

He kept his word that day…but he lost the kingdom of God and that is a high price to pay.

Before we leave the story today I would like for us to learn quickly four important lessons…from each of the main characters.

The first one is: “STEPPED ON TOES OR A LOST SOUL?”

A lot of people are that way today aren’t they?

A preacher’s job…an elder’s job…a fellow Christians job is to tell you the truth…even when you may not like it.

Now I want you to learn from Herod that CONVICTION AND CONVERSION are two different things.

And yet, he is so far away.

He is so far away because all Herod could do when he heard the truth about his marriage was “be troubled by it.”

Feeling bad and being distressed…and then going out and living like you want too will not get you into the kingdom of heaven.

And then I want us to learn from Mark, the one telling this story, that  SUCCESSFUL AND FAITHFUL are two different things.

 Let me ask you this: Who would the world say was the most successful in this story?

Let me ask you something.

Mark is saying, “Look closely at the two men. Look closely at how you define success…and choose one to follow. ”

But keep this in mind. It is not up to the world to say what success is.

God is the one sitting on the throne and it is He who will make the final decision about who is successful.

One more lesson from Mark.

Notice, where he puts this story?

I think Mark included this story in here so that he could say, “You choose the way of John and it might cost you your life. You choose the way of Herod and it will cost you your soul.”

The choice is yours.

The story of the death of John the Baptizer.

A man of great courage…and faith.

This morning, will you show great courage and faith by giving your life for Jesus too?

Will you die to yourself…and be baptized into Christ…to live for and possibly die for Him?