Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday, September 26th Mark 6:14-29

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Isaiah 53-54; Proverbs 22; 1 Timothy 3.
Today's scripture focus is Mark 6:14-29.

Mark 6:14-29English Standard Version (ESV)

The Death of John the Baptist

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.” 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.
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.” 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.
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
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Isaiah 55-56
Sunday's passage: Isaiah 57-58
Monday's passage: Isaiah 59-60, Proverbs 23, 1 Timothy 4

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