High School Director Sean Duncan shares on Mark 6:14-29. We are introduced to John The Baptist in Mark 1 as the prophet who is paving the way for the coming messiah. John is baptizing people in the Jordan river as he is calling them to repent of their sins and turn back to covenantal faithfulness. We are told in Mark 1:14 that Jesus’s ministry began when JTB was arrested. We haven’t heard anything since about John until now. Jesus’ work throughout Galilee and the Decapolis through his work and disciples is spreading news of Jesus. Herod hears of the righteous events and concludes John The Baptist must be back from the dead. This section of Mark pays tribute to JTB and shares how he died, but it also shows the extreme extent of following Jesus and standing for righteousness.
14 King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He 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.”
- As Jesus’ ministry has spread all around the region of Galilee, from healing lepers, and casting out demons, to raising the dead and displaying his power over nature. Jesus’ miracles and and his teaching has spread his name to the point of fame, although his fame is often spreading more as ‘Jesus the healer’ or ‘Jesus the miracle worker’ or ‘Jesus the teacher’. All of which is true about Jesus, but Jesus is much more than that. Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah.
- Jesus’ ministry, and his ministry through his disciples as we saw last week when brad taught, has spread His name all over. So much so that it is reaching Herod. Now, at this point Jesus’ ministry has taken place in Galilee, and in the Decapolis. Both are regions that are around the sea of Galilee.
- But Herod is hearing this from his palace. His palace is the fortress of Machaerus which is on the east side of the dead sea which is about 85 miles from where Jesus is doing ministry at this time. To put it into perspective that is like eugene to a bit past woodburn. The fortress of Machaerus stands on a lonely ridge, surrounded by deep ravines and is was one of the loneliest and grimmest and most untouched fortresses in the world.
- Word of Jesus has spread by word of mouth all the way to Herod who is far away and relatively removed. and yet he hears about Jesus. And the things people hear about Jesus leads them to speculate just who Jesus is and why he has the power that he does.
- Some people think Jesus is Elijah, that he is going to be who paves the way for the Messiah, others think Jesus is a prophet like from the Old Testament, who speaks of Gods coming judgement and Hope. Herods guilty conscience makes him think that Jesus is JTB. All these assumptions are of men who stood for God’s righteousness.
- Jesus’ acts and teaching of righteousness are in line with God’s will has been passed on by word of mouth all the way to Herod, 85 miles away in an isolated area.
- Point #1: Kingdom acts spread the kingdom news.
- spreading the name of Jesus happens by living as a kingdom citizen.
- I know so many of you want to be sharing the gospel and sharing Jesus with others.
- And I know that sharing the gospel is hard, but I want you to know verbally sharing the gospel isn’t the only way to spread the news of Jesus with others. We want to get you to that point, but theres other ways to share Jesus. And thats through how you live.
- Acts 1:8 says “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
- witnessing to something means bearing testimony
- it doesn’t say you will witness, it says you will be a witness
- part of being a christian is representing Christ to the world around us.
- through how we talk, act, treat others, steward our responsibilities etc.
- work with your hands.
- don’t live in a way that seeks attention for yourself and your own glory
- don’t get wrapped up in arguments of other people, or in gossip
- When we do our homework on time, aren’t be late to class, don’t gossip, give our work, sport, or club, our best effort and it begins to show Christ to people.
- We can talk and share the gospel all we want, but if our actions never match up with our words it will be hard for people to listen to us.
- There are a few girls at Sheldon high school who every Friday sit with someone new at lunch that they don’t know. The reach out to them and show them love by wanting to know them. They have never told me they do this but I know it happens, because they are driven by a kingdom mindset. I’ve heard about it, because kingdom acts spread kingdom news.
17 For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
- The complexity of the situation
- Herodias is Herods neice, and sister-in-law..
- Herod was breaking Gods law by taking Herodias as his own when she was married to his brother. Leviticus 18:16, and 20:21 both speak against this.
- Because JTB spoke up about Herod’s acts being unrighteous and unjust he was seized and put in jail because Herodias did not like that John was speaking up on the matter.
- Point #2: Standing up for whats right isn’t about popularity, (It’s about purpose)
- Standing up for whats right isn’t likely going to be your fast track to popularity.
- JTB stood for righteousness and he got thrown in jail over it.
- As image bearers who reflect a righteous and just God we too are to stand for what is right and stand for justice.
- This does not mean we simply point out the flaws in people or whats wrong with a situation, but rather, we point to what is right and show what is better.
- Of course when we speak truth we do it with grace, but grace doesn’t mean no truth
- truth without grace is mean, but grace without truth is meaningless.
- We don’t try to change peoples morality, and we always lead with the gospel
- We aren’t on a mission to point out what people are doing wrong, we are trying to point people to something better. We, like John, are trying to point people to Jesus.
- First off I want to encourage you all. Maybe you have stood up for what’s right and it cost you some friendships, or maybe some people tend to push you away because you speak up for what is right.
- I want you to know if you are standing up for what is right in your life, in your school, in your classrooms, and you see people pushing away from you that does not mean you are doing the wrong thing. quite the opposite actually, it more likely is a confirmation.
- Secondly, as a community of Jesus followers we want to live like Jesus. Jesus spoke out strongly against injustice and the poor treatment of others. And Jesus strongly stood for moral righteousness. we should also stand for what Christ stands for.
- But, Jesus, God incarnate did not come down to earth just to point out peoples failure, call them sinners, reveal their brokenness. Jesus does do those things, but He does so to redirect their attention to what is right, holy, righteous. Jesus doesn’t put their focus only on their sin, He puts their focus on what is right.
- I’ve heard from some of you that you have watched your teachers or students in your class be mistreated and you know you should speak up but your afraid of loosing friends.
21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Herodias’s 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 give it to you.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.”
The Situation gets more complex
- Herodias’s daughter is Herod’s niece, and great niece, and step daughter
- Point #3: Those who despise righteousness want to stomp out the voice of righteousness.
- Herodias despises righteousness because it is light revealing her sin, brokenness, and lawlessness.
- Those who love lawlessness do not want people to speak about what is right. If no one talks about what is just or right, than their deeds are not revealed as wrong.
- Being silent is giving them what they want.
- There is whats called the bystander effect.
- In 1964 Kitty Genovese was going home to her apartment in New York City. As she approached her apartment she was stabbed to death while people stood by and observed the crime. None of the people stepped in to assist or call the police. She bled out and died right there in front of her apartment because no one stepped in.
- Social psychologists Bibb Latané and John Darley called this the bystander effect. The bystander effect occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.
- Latané and Darley attributed the bystander effect to the perceived diffusion of responsibility (onlookers are more likely to intervene if there are few or no other witnesses) and social influence (individuals in a group monitor the behavior of those around them to determine how to act). In Genovese’s case, each onlooker concluded from their neighbors’ inaction that their own personal help was not needed.
- I took a first aid response class at LaneCC my sophomore year and one of the first things we learn when coming upon an emergency situation is to call people to action. Start giving direction “you, call 911” “you, grab a blanket” “you, help me with CPR”
- It only takes one person stepping out for what is right to cause an awareness and a response to action.
- Don’t become consumed by the bystander effect, be an upstander.
- I know this one is scarier. But if you see someone being bullied physically or verbally, or someone committing unjust acts. Do not remain silent.
- If you are silent you are an enabler and allowing the injustice to take place.
- Now I’m not saying you need to stand up on the cafeteria table and make a huge proclamation of the injustice taking place like Jeremiah in the temple. But you can’t just look the other way.
- Alert those who can help. maybe you are the one who needs to speak up. Maybe theres a teacher near by, or someone else who can help.
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 an executioner with orders to bring John’s 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.
- Herod is left with a choice. Either stand for righteousness, listening to his instinct and don’t kill John, or give in to injustice and give into to the evil request of Herodias’s and her daughter.
- Herod choses to side with injustice over righteousness
- In our life we will either be Herod, or we will be JTB. And this comes down to everyday moments. Seeing injustice take place, waging war on sin, saying yes or no to more pizza even though your full, saying yes or no to being sexually immoral, saying yes or more to partaking in the slander of another person. Everyday every moment we are challenged with this battle and with every battle we will either be JTB or Herod. Ultimately this comes to the Cross. Are we going to stand for righteousness and accept Jesus as Lord and savior? or are we going to be Herod and deny it.
- look at verse 26 again,
- “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.”
- Herod values his reputation and his word more than he values standing for what is right.
Point #4 and Main Point: Your Social status will never be more valuable than your Kingdom status.
- We all have a status in life, and as a follower of christ you status is citizen. Citizen of heaven. Child of God. Saint.
- not sharing the gospel because you don’t want to be known as the christian kid?
- not being kind to that guy in your math class that everyone is rude to because you just want to fit in?
- listening to music that objectifies women and promotes drug abuse and uses foul language just because you want to look cool?
- When Jesus Saves you be begins sanctifying you and you are now a saint. That means you are set apart for purpose. Its okay to be different. As a follower of Christ you are set apart as God’s special possession.
- How many of you value your social status more than you value sharing the gospel?
- Show Christ through your actions. do your homework on time, don’t be late to class, don’t gossip, give your work, your sport, or club, your best effort not for your own glory but for God’s.
- Stand for whats right. Have a voice. A voice that doesn’t just point out whats wrong, but declares what is right.
- Break the social barrier this week. go talk to someone that you never have. invite someone to eat at lunch with your friends who y’all wouldn’t normally hang out with.
Always point to whats right, always point to Jesus. Don’t just point out whats wrong.
- you can tell them whats wrong as much as you’d like, but if you never tell them whats right they wont know where to go.
- Our job is not to point out how they are wrong, its to point them to what is right. Jesus.
- JTB isn’t trying to just condemn injustice or stand against it. He is actually inviting and calling the unrighteous to righteousness.
- We don’t want to just stiff arm the unjust. Our efforts for justice should be a redirection from death to life.
- And That is what Jesus did. Jesus too stood for righteousness to the point of death. Jesus proclaiming what is right and just and true about God lead him to the cross. Jesus lived the perfect life that we couldn’t fully loving God and fully loving people to the point of His death. Now when We accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior His righteous image, His righteous life, is imputed to us as our own. And Jesus’ Death on the cross bore the just punishment we deserve for our sin, our failure, our injustice, so that we can be free from penalty.
- Jesus did not stiff arm the unjust and the unrighteous. Instead He let injustice and unrighteousness consume Him on the cross so that He could bring people away from injustice, away from death, and bring them into righteousness, bring them into eternal life.
- Jesus conquered sin and conquered death being raised on the third day, and now Jesus, our living God, reigns at the right hand of the Father and Jesus will bring just judgement upon all in the second coming.