Behind The Death Of John The Baptist
This morning I shared a message with my congregation entitled “The sad tale of a dysfunctional family”. It was based on the account of the death of John the Baptist. The beheading of John the Baptist is a poignant example of what can happen when we allow dysfunctional attitudes and actions to overtake and control our families. The death of John the Baptist is truly a senseless tragedy brought on by people giving themselves over to their most carnal natures. It is truly a sad tale of a dysfunctional family gone awry. However even in this tragedy we can learn not only how to prevent this from happening in our own families, but we can also find the spiritual principles to help those that are trapped in the snares of the enemy. I truly hope that this teaching on the death of John the Baptist will be a blessing to you and help you to find the freedom and health that is only found in Jesus.
The Death of John the Baptist in the Gospel of Mark.
The Death of John the Baptist
14 Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” 15 Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.”
16 When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.”
17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, 20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.
21 Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. 22 Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” 23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”
24 She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?”
Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”
25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”
26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, 28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.
Lessons From The Death Of John The Baptist
In the book of John, written by the Apostle John and not to be confused with John the Baptist, we read the words of Jesus in chapter 10 and verse 10 where it says “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” As we look at the family of King Herod we will see where their extreme dysfunction was the work of the enemy.
The results of Herod’s dysfunctional family
- King Herod had stolen the wife of his brother Phillip. This is a story straight out of the Jerry Springer show. It was because John the Baptist confronted Herod about this action that Herod put John in jail.
- The innocence and purity of Herodias was stolen from from her by her mother. Can you imagine any mother asking her daughter to dance for her stepfather in order to entice him? How unhealthy of a family life is it when it is accepted that a daughter dance in such a way as to encourage lust?
- You have the authority and integrity of Herod stolen by his wife by the use of manipulation. It was not Herod’s desire to kill John the Baptist. He had made that clear. However Herodias wanted John the Baptist dead because he had confronted them about their sin. She used manipulation to take away the authority of Herod and his wish to keep John the Baptist alive.
- Not only was John the Baptist killed but the sanctity of life and the value placed upon human life was killed as well. Can you imagine what the effect was upon their daughter when she was told to ask for the murder of someone? How much did that de-value human life in her eyes? To have this acceptable in a family is just unthinkable.
- Because of all this the health and wholeness of Herod’s family was destroyed. What type of family has a stepfather lusting after a daughter? What type of family destroys the integrity of it’s leader? What type of family leads one of it’s members down the path to insanity?
Applying These Lessons from the Death of John the Baptist
Patterns from the enemy
We need to remember that in our life or the lives of others that when there is a pattern of stealing, killing, and destroying that it is the work of the enemy. This is not to say that all of us do not make mistakes at times. However, when there is a pattern of this happening then it is the work of the enemy in our lives or the lives of those around us. But it is not all bad news. Jesus came to give us life and life more abundantly. There is a way to be set free and to have healthy and whole family relationships.
The desire to be set free
We need to remember that a person needs to want to be set free. It will do no good for Jesus to unlock the jail door if you or the person you are trying to help is not willing to walk out of that jail. If they are unwilling, then all you can do is pray for them and pray that they will see the light and want to walk out of the darkness.
Replacing our vision of normalcy with God’s healthy vision
Finally in our own lives, when we notice patterns of dysfunction, we need to ask the Lord to give us a healthy vision and understanding of what is normal compared to what we are used to. Many times we do not realize we have dysfunction going on in our life because we think that it is normal to be the way we are. It takes God giving us a new vision and a new understanding of what His idea of healthy relationships is really like. When you see His perspective of wholeness and health then that will set you down the path of freedom yourself!