Mark 6:17-20: Silence the preacher.

“17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled ; yet he liked to listen to him.” NIV UK

I have seen this same sort of thing in people. Have you? Where they are fascinated by Christianity. They have huge respect for it, and for particular people they know who are believers. Yet at the same time they feel drawn, they also keep a safe distance. Also, they never seem to fully understand.  Although John’s words must have stung Herod, it was Herodias who wanted him dead. Stories about royals and sex scandals always sell papers. People are very interested in these things, even though they may pretend they are not. There had been a big scandal involving Herod and his brother’s wife. John the Baptist spoke prophetically into the situation and ‘’called a spade a spade, and not an agricultural implement.’’ We don’t like to be told we are in the wrong. Deep in his heart though, I believe Herod knew John was right, and he had way too much admiration (and fear) to want to kill him. But a compromise solution was to lock him up. When the preacher says things you don’t want to hear; speaks penetrating words that expose your sin, you may want to silence him, or her. Such desires are regularly turned into reality in some cultures. Perhaps more likely, you will do your utmost to avoid hearing that preacher. If you have to be in church, then you will metaphorically, if not literally, put your hands over your ears. One way or another, you will silence him. Conviction of sin will make certain people raging angry.

‘’The kingdoms of the world are indeed to become the kingdom of God, but those who speak of this in advance are likely to suffer the anger of those who feel their power slipping away from them.’’ Tom Wright: ‘Mark for everyone,’p.76

Wright also makes the telling point that within a decade Herod had been banished to Gaul; left to die in disgrace in a foreign land. Within a decade, John’s story had been written up by Mark, showing him to be a fearless witness to the Kingdom of God.

PRAYER: Please give me the courage to stand in the face of an oncoming tide of evil, and not be swept away by it.