John, Herod and Jesus – Mark 6

A nursed grudge. A festering wound on the heart. Satan uses these for his purposes. A bullied student comes to school with a gun. A disgruntled fired employee blows up his former employer’s car or business. Grudges are evidenced on the news and crime dramas nightly.

            Jesus – the name on everyone’s lips caught Herod’s attention. He was scared. People were saying this was John the Baptist raised from the dead and that was why he had miraculous powers. Others said He was Elijah or another prophet. But Herod was sure that it was John come back from the dead and coming after him, because he’d given the order to have him executed.

Herodias, Herod’s wife, was furious with John because of his condemnation of their marriage, after all who cared if she’d been married to Herod’s brother and that was against God’s law (see Leviticus 20:21). Because of her anger Herod had John arrested. Herodias wanted him executed, but Herod was afraid to do so and besides he liked to talk to him and listen to him. So the anger Herodias held festered and grew in her until it became all-consuming.

One night Herod held a feast for his commanders and other high-ranking officials. Herodias sent her daughter out to dance for them. Herod was so pleased he offered her anything she wanted, up to half his kingdom. After conferring with her mother she said, “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” (vs 25 NIV) Herod did it, because of his promise.

I wonder how long Herodias gloated over her victory over John. I wonder how soon her guilt and hatred once again consumed her. We know that Herod was haunted by his fear and guilt. He had known John to be righteous and holy. He knew that it was wrong to execute him.

What grudges do you hold? Are they festering and eating away at your joy? In Matthew 6:12 & 14 Jesus said, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” If you want peace, let go of the grudges; forgive your brother or sister and begin once again to feel the peace that passes human understanding and the joy of the Lord. Let it go and be freed.

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