Lent Series: The Death of John the Baptist

Yesterday, we went with Jesus to his hometown of Nazareth. He tried to teach there, but they didn’t want to hear what he had to say. His own fellow men rejected him and sent him on his way. Because their lack of faith he could not heal people who desired to be healed.

Whilst we were walking, one of John’s disciples came running to Jesus weeping. Jesus asked him what was the matter. He told Jesus that John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, was beheaded. He and the other disciples of John’s buried John just before seeing Jesus.

We asked for the details. Herod was having a birthday party. During the party, Herodias’s daughter danced well and pleased Herod. Because she pleased him, he promised her anything she wanted. She asked her mother what was best, and her mum told her she wanted John the Baptist’s head on a platter.  Therefore, John was beheaded in prison and his head was brought to the daughter on a tray during the party!

Herod and Herodias didn’t like John. He told Herod the truth about his marriage which did not settle well with him. You see, Herodias was seduced by Herod. She was his niece and wife of his brother Philip. He persuaded Herodias to divorce Philip and marry him. John told Herod it was against the law to marry her.

Despite hearing the truth that his marriage was wrong, Herod would not kill John. He was afraid to. He had respect for John and would even chat to him about things. Herod was grieved and did not want to behead John. However, because he had made a promise, he could not back out now. He ordered his men to carry out the deed.

I was very upset. I could not believe all that I had just heard. I knew John was in prison, however, I didn’t know why.  I remember John baptizing me in the River Jordan when I first saw Jesus. I felt so different afterward. My life has never been the same since that day.

The disciples with us were upset as well. Some disciples had left John to follow Jesus and John was so understanding. He even encouraged them to follow Jesus.

I felt awful that we could not be there when they buried his body. I have no idea what they ended up doing with the head. I can only imagine Herodias kept it as a trophy in her room. I shivered just thinking about it.

Jesus told us he wanted to go to a remote place to get away for a bit. He was really upset. I could understand. This was his cousin. They were very close and grew up together.

We set off in boats. However, crowds found out where we were going and followed us. Jesus had compassion on them. He decided to heal and teach despite his grief.

I was utterly amazed at how Jesus dealt with everything. If it was me, I would tell the people to leave me alone. I need time to grieve. But Jesus didn’t. He loved everyone and he wanted everyone to know about his Father God. He wanted them to be healed and set free. He wanted them to be a part of his kingdom.

I sat down next to a group of ladies and their children and listened to Jesus. I watched as queues of people came to be healed.

The day was growing shorter. I wondered what was going to happen next. I was tired. I was hungry. I was sad. I pray Jesus will find time to grieve and be alone with his Father. I pray we will get fed soon and have some time to rest.

*For further study: Matthew 14:1-13; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9

*Note- Jesus grieved on the inside. He did minister to others despite his grief. However, as we will discover later after he ministered to the people and fed them, he finally had time away on his own with God. If you are grieving, don’t hide behind the pain and keep working, etc. Take time to be with your heavenly Father who loves you more than anything and wants to share the grief with you.

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