Scripture says there was no greater prophet than John the Baptist! According to the New Testament, John was sentenced to death and subsequently beheaded by Herod Antipas sometime around 30 AD - all because John rebuked him for divorcing his wife, and then unlawfully wedding Herodias, the wife of his brother, Philip.
You see, John wasn’t beheaded because he was proclaiming the arrival of Jesus, nor was he beheaded for telling people to repent! No! John was beheaded for stating the truth - and exposing the corruption inside Herod’s heart.
Herod was a King, who ruled from his throne, and we already saw him kill children to protect what he owned; nothing would get in the way, nothing could jeopardize what the people would think. This king would do just as he pleased, and he would later die from his gluttony.
As a president, he modeled deceit. He had people kill babies, and taught children to hate.
Matthew 14:6-12 says,
“At a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted. At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!” Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. So John was beheaded in the prison, and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother. Later, John’s disciples came for his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.”
I wonder what Jesus thought of John’s death? Was he angry that John had spoken the truth? Was he sad that John was beheaded? I wonder what was Jesus’s response?
Matthew 14:13-14 says,
“As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.”
My guess is that Jesus was sad, because everything in him wanted to retreat. But being alone, did not happen for long, the crowd came and he showed compassion and love. Instead of retaliating or falling into depression, Jesus was slow to anger, and quick to listen. What a beautiful response that we should all learn from. I can only hope to be as loving and kind.
But wait. There is another question that I have. Why was John in prison and not with our Lord? Why wasn’t John one of His 12 disciples?
My guess is that God gives us all a mission, and this happens right from the womb. Jeremiah was born to be a prophet of the nations, and John the Baptist was born to be the Spirit of Elijah returned.
I wonder what kind of testimony John would have left, if he just stayed in the wilderness yelling repent. Was he created to call out the truth - that Jesus is Lord AND the hearts of men are corrupt?
And I wonder why Jesus went straight to the teachers and confronted their traditions and laws? Was it to show them what sinners they were? And why didn’t Jesus condemn the women in adultery, but instead loved them and told her to stop? And why did Jesus heal the sick, and then tell them to pick up their mat and walk?
Perhaps it’s not just the message of Christ that needs to be received; perhaps it’s also about the heart of the one receiving it.
Jesus told his followers to go, and make disciples by teaching people to obey His commandments. He warned them not stay too long and press, but to offer hope and then move on. If a person does not believe what the Word of God says, then shake off the dust and move on along.
The truth is that the Word of God must be sown through a sprinkling and spreading that happens all over the earth. The Word of God is needed not only in the church, but on every mountain that is upon this earth.
Some will hate us, and some will be persecuted, but whosoever believes will be transformed and convicted. You see, Hebrews 11 shows us the many great people of God listed in the Hall of Faith, and since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must also understand the different missions of God's children to express their obedient faith.
The gene of Faith is expressed when the Word of God is heard, and this is how God's spiritual DNA preconceived us. The children of God believe in Jesus. We are justified by His love, and sanctified through a heart of obedience.
The Lord says,
Why are My people questioning and afraid to speak out?
Why are My people confused about how to best love?
Why are there mixed messages within the Church?
Why are people bowing to a corrupt government?
Isn’t my Word being read aloud? Isn’t My Word being spread out?