Mark 6:14-29 (NRSV)
Verse 14King Herod heard of it, 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." Verse 15But others said, "It is Elijah." And others said, "It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old." Verse 16But when Herod heard of it, he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."
Verse 17For 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. Verse 18For John had been telling Herod, "It is not lawful for you to have your brother's wife." Verse 19And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, Verse 20for 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. Verse 21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. Verse 22When 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." Verse 23And he solemnly swore to her, "Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom." Verse 24She went out and said to her mother, "What should I ask for?" She replied, "The head of John the baptizer." Verse 25Immediately 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." Verse 26The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Verse 27Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John's head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, Verse 28brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. Verse 29When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Whose voices get our attention? What events, desires, or powers expose our vulnerability? Whose words do we crave or like to exploit? The buzz at Herod’s party reminds us of times we’ve gotten caught up in breaking news, swayed by the power people, intrigued by popular opinion or given in to peer pressure. When we feel regret for such actions, we are moved to confess and we repent.
We turn to Jesus, our King, who stood silent before Pilate. We look to Jesus, not beheaded but crucified, who forgave enemies and commended his spirit to God for our salvation. He is with us to deliver us from evil and to divert us from all its drama. He is with us, having quietly exited the tomb at Easter’s dawn to give us life! We look to him for grace as we await the celebration of the kingdom yet to come. What a heavenly party our King will host!
Jesus, Living Word, thank you that you are with us this day. Help us to hear your word of grace and forgiveness. Amen!