Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Murder of the Greatest Prophet
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: The Silencing of a Servant
Accompanying David Legge sermon: Our Savior's Hero
This is a grisly passage, and a tragic end to the life of the man whom Jesus called the greatest man to have ever lived (before Him, of course).
I appreciated Rayburn's thoughts on this passage:
Mark is giving us a lesson in discipleship, in following Jesus and serving him. The account of John’s martyrdom is sandwiched between the call of the disciples to do ministry in Jesus name and their return from that ministry as reported in verse 30 of this same chapter 6. “The sandwich structure brings mission and martyrdom, discipleship and death into an inseparable relationship.” [Edwards, 189]..
in this world of sin and death, among this rebel mankind, to love and serve Jesus is to take upon oneself the enmity of the Evil One and to face the opposition of his kingdom and of this world. And no disciple of Jesus Christ understands his calling or has truly embraced it until he understands this and is determined never to be deterred by it. Following Christ requires the facing of many difficulties and the suffering of many things. John is the perfect example....
Though you may not know it from what you hear of Christianity nowadays, it is not the proclamation of comfortable platitudes. It is the personal knowledge of the living God with whom the whole world in which we live is fiercely at odds. It is following Jesus Christ and that invariably means for us, as it did for him, suffering and loss.
This is true faith, this is genuine Christianity: what we see in John the Baptist. An altogether different thing, an altogether higher thing and nobler thing than most people think Christianity to be. Not a comfortable system, a predictable scheme of life by reason of which we give our good behavior to God and he smiles on us. No, it is a rumbling, roaring, great adventure, life and death and danger on every hand, walking with Christ who loves us and promises to help us but who has summoned us to his own life of struggle, suffering, and sacrifice. Such must a godly life be with a world as sin-soaked as this one is, standing under the specter of death as it does, and alienated from God as it is. Such must be a Christian’s pilgrimage through the Devil’s world.
Perhaps some of you now, in one way or another, are struggling with the fact that your life has not turned out as you had imagined or hoped. I cannot explain that to you any more than I can explain why John’s life took the course it did; no one can. The Lord is God. Let all the earth keep silence before him. But I can say this to you with absolute confidence: on this path of unexpected and inexplicable twists and turns, of difficulties and obstacles of every kind, you can see ahead of you the footprints of every truly great Christian who had preceded you in this world, even the print of that desert-worn, almost disintegrated sandal of John the Baptist.
Monday's scripture focus: Mark 6:30-44
Sunday's passage: Isaiah 57-58
Monday's passage: Isaiah 59-60, Proverbs 23, 1 Timothy 4