The Gospel of Mark: a commentary & meditation 
"Some said, 'John  the baptizer has been raised from the dead' "

Scripture:  Mark 6:14-29

14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known. Some said, "John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these  powers are at work in him." 15 But others said, "It is Eli'jah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised." 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero'di-as, his brother Philip's wife; because he had married  her. 18 For John said to Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." 19 And Hero'di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he  heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.  22 For when Hero'di-as' daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, "Ask me for whatever you  wish, and I will grant it." 23 And he vowed to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" And she said, "The head of John the baptizer." 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, "I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter." 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Meditation: Do you court favor with the rich and the famous?  Scripture warns us of such danger (see Proverbs 23:1-2).  King Herod had respected and feared John the Baptist as a great prophet and servant of God. John, however did not fear to chastise Herod for his adulterous relationship.  Herod, out of impulse and a desire to please his family and friends, had John beheaded.  Now his conscience is pricked when he hears that some think that the Baptist has risen. When Herod heard the fame of Jesus he supposed that John the Baptist, whom he had beheaded, had returned from the dead. Unfortunately for Herod, he could not rid himself of sin by ridding himself of the man who confronted him with his sin.  Herod was a weak man.  He could take a strong stand on the wrong things when he knew the right.  Such a stand, however, was a sign of weakness and cowardice.  God's grace enables us to overcome fear and weakness in the face of temptation.  Do you allow his grace to fortify you with faith and courage when you face adversity?

"Heavenly Father, form in me the likeness of your Son and deepen his life within me that I may be like him in word and deed.   Help me to live the gospel faithfully and give me strength and courage to not shrink back in the face of adversity and temptation."

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 (c) 2000 Don Schwager