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August 1, 2021 | Javan Shashaty
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“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. Because John had said to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’”—Mark 6:17–18 (NKJV)
As we come to the passage above, we’re in a bit of a narrative valley. Mark has taken a break from the running record of Christ’s earthly ministry to give us a bit of a side story on what occurred between John the Baptist and Herod’s household. It’s a story well worth telling, because it reveals so many important truths to us. In particular, the spiritual principle that occupies this particular passage.
John was someone who you just couldn’t miss or dismiss! From his birth to his upbringing, to his clothes, to his diet, to his words . . . the man was radical! Mind you, he wasn’t what we often see in our media-charged society, which are people who are trying to be/appear radical. That’s actually quite common, because most people will level out as their comforts are affected. John was totally different. He was personally called and commissioned by God, Himself, to stand out in an unmistakable way in order to point people to His Son.
True to his uncompromising nature, John publicly spoke out against Herod’s sinful marriage to Herodias (a story in and of itself). It’s important to note that even in this, John was not advancing his own radical agenda. He was testifying God’s will, which is what matters most of all, even more than popular opinion. But in doing so, it landed him in prison. Now watch something interesting when it comes to Herod’s attitude towards John: “Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not; 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” (Mark 6:19–20 NKJV).
Do you see the conflict in Herod? On the one hand, he’s guilty of an abominable sin before God. He knows he’s in the wrong and even has an admiration towards John for calling this out. Perhaps Herod even thought to himself, I wish I had that kind of conviction and courage! Regardless, Herod respected John enough to keep him alive despite his wife wanting him killed. Yet on the other hand, tragically, Herod wasn’t convicted to the point of repenting. He admired the man of God and the truth of God from afar, but didn’t step into the sphere of confession, himself. This will prove a fatal non-step for Herod!
We must avoid this “afar attitude” when it comes to sin. If we know sin is present in our lives, there’s just one remedy: confess, repent, and receive the cleansing forgiveness that God wants to give. There’s no acceptable alternative, only a conflicted heart and a painful path ahead.
Pause: Where did Herod go wrong? What must be done to avoid Herod’s error?
Practice: Today, consider any areas in which you need to repent and bring it to the Lord. Confess your sins to Him, repent, and then allow yourself to experience His forgiveness in it.
Pray: Lord, may I grow more and more sensitive to Your conviction of sin in my life, as well as more obedient in my response to it.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.