JESUS WENT AROUND TEACHING AND SENT OUT THE TWELVE
Jesus went around teaching from village to village. He called the Twelve disciples to Him and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority over impure spirits.
Their mission was urgent, and Jesus told them to take nothing for the journey except a staff. No
Money; wear sandals but not an extra shirt; if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leavesthat place and shake the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.
It is true isn’t that some people simply will not listen. You can talk to them until you are blue in the Face but if they do not want to hear they simply will not listen! Don’t hang around go on to the next place. Go to those who will listen. The Disciples did, what the Church is still called to do, they went out and preached that people should repent – they should turn away from sin and wrong and look back to Jesus and follow Himand His teaching. At the same time the disciples drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them. This was truly powerful stuff and we should have the faith to know that people’s lives are still being changed by the power of Jesus and the Gospel.
KING HEROD and John The Baptist
King Herod (Antipas) had heard about this because Jesus’ name had become really well-known at this time. But who was this Jesus, people were asking? He was certainly no ordinary man. He was doing extraordinary things and He was doing them in the name of God.
Some people were saying that this Jesus was John the Baptist raised from the dead, and that is why he is able to do all these miraculous things, and why so many people are enthralled by what he says and does – things they had not heard or seen before. Other people said that he was Elijah, chief among the prophets, come back to life, and others claimed He was a prophet like one of the prophets of long ago. Who was he, this Jesus, John the Baptist? Elijah? One of the Prophets of old? In the Jewish faith it was believed that Elijah would return to herald the Day of the Lord. Indeed in Jewish Worship an empty place is kept at ceremonial feasts in case Elijah should suddenly return. In a similar kind of way the Christian Church celebrates the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper recalling the last Supper at which Jesus presided and looking forward to His promise that He will come again.
But there was no doubt in King Herod’s mind! It was John the Baptist who had come back to life and he was very, very afraid. By the way Herod Antipas wasn’t really a king; he was Tetrarch – a lower order of ruler. Remember, it was Herod Antipas who had decreed John’s execution, after John had rebuked him for taking his brother’s wife – which was against the law of the time in that place.
Herod Philip, Herod Antipas’ brother, was married to Herodias, who Herod Antipas had seduced and then married. Philip and Herodias had a daughter called Salome who was Herod Antipas’ niece. The Herods’ were some crowd and pretty despotic and it did not do to get on the wrong side of them.
John the Baptist had rebuked Herod Antipas for taking his half-brother’s wife as his own. Actually Antipas quite liked John the Baptist. He was straightforward and honest. Antipas liked the way he talked and was affected by some of the things he said.
However, the theory that Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life was terrifying for Antipas. He had to live with the sin of ordering John the Baptist’s death because he knew what John had said was true. Herod had been haunted ever since by what he had done. Un-repented sin is like that. It never gets out of your system. One lives in fear that it will burst out into the open again bringing renewed shame. That is the nature of un-repented sin.
Herod Antipas was convinced that Jesus was John the Baptist come back to life and he was disturbed. He thought that John had come to wreak retribution.
2 (A) The fateful night
The trouble was that while Herod Antipas liked John the Baptist, his wife Herodias certainly did not. She was not a woman of good character, and she contrived a means of getting rid of John whose presence was a constant testimony to her sin.
Herod Antipas organised that sumptuous birthday feast to impress his friends and all the high heid yins round about him? He was determined to make it a spectacular affair. The banquet to top all banquets!
Herodias had suggested that Salome perform a dance for the guests. It was in appalling bad taste. Indeed it is difficult to imagine any father allowing a daughter to perform such an unseemly act. But Herod was pleased with it, because his guests – the great and the good – were delighted with it. Herod was so pleased with Salome’s performance, and with the congratulations of the gathered guests, that he promised to give her anything she asked for up to half his kingdom – amazing. What would a young girl ask for from her father I wonder? Having consulted her mother Herodias, Salome asked for John the Baptist’s head on a platter! Herod was horrified actually, but he had to keep his word. Really? Can you believe that? He had to keep face! What a depraved society it must have been!
Perhaps Herod was a bit drunk! Surely he never imagined in a million years that Salome (on the suggestion of her mother Herodias) would ask for John’s head on a platter!! To suggest that keeping such a promise as that was in any way honourable is hideous.
THE CASTLE AT MACHAERUS
The scene of these last events was at the prison fortress at Machaerus Castle. From there John had been taken and executed. This haunted Herod. He couldn’t escape the tyranny of his own un-repented sin.
Much of what happened to John the Baptist would in due course happen to Jesus also. Meanwhile, John’s disciples came and took John’s body away and laid it in a tomb.
Who do we say Jesus is? We say He is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Saviour of the World, our Saviour – the Redeemer, our Redeemer. To God be the glory for ever and ever, AMEN.
ABBA FATHER WE ARE YOURS!
Rev. Bob Anderson Minister
Reading – Mark 6:14-29
Mark 6:14-29New International VersionJohn the Baptist Beheaded14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying,[a] “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.” 16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!” 17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled[b]; yet he liked to listen to him. 21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of[c] Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. 25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.