Reflection on the Gospel of Mark 6:14-29 7th Sunday after Pentecost June 11, 2021

Gospel of Mark 6:14-29

King Herod heard of Jesus and his disciples, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias 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.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Let us Pray:

Friends in Christ, God invites us to hold the needs of our sisters and brothers

as dear to us as our own needs. Loving our neighbors as ourselves,

we offer our thanksgivings and our petitions on behalf of the church and the world.

This we pray in the name of your Son, Jesus our Lord and Savior.  Amen

It is a shared view that this Gospel lesson is a terrible reading, the beheading of John the Baptizer. At the same time it is also an intriguing story, filled with drama, conflict, conspiracy, and a violent resolution. This story is a bit of a downer. But, more than that, it’s a shot of sobering reality. If you’re John you’ll be the victim of an immature girl and an impotent puppet ruler, and your head will be served on a platter. John stood for the truth. He followed God faithfully. His death was not the end for him or for the mission of God in the world. John paved the way for Jesus and his death foreshadowed the death of Christ. And it’s because of the death and resurrection of Jesus that we have the hope of eternal life and a message worth dying for. John put his life on the line for what he believed.  Do we stand up for what we believe, especially if our opinions or thoughts deviate from the norm, or do we keep silent?  If we are asked directly, do we avoid or procrastinate on our response?   Do we simply avoid the question? The Scriptures are clear that as we stand for Christ we will suffer. But we also know that while we may be despised by kings in this life, we will reign with The King for all eternity.

Let us pray: Dear God guide our steps as you guided John’s. Give us the strength to be as strong and devoted believer as he was. Help us live our lives following in the steps of john and Jesus our Lord. This we pray in your name.  Amen

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