Category Archives: 02 – Mark

The Proof of Jesus Christ


Daily Bible Reading – Job 26, 27; Mark 15, 16

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 15:16-41

 

Today’s key passage shows some of the events that unfolded on the fateful day when Jesus Christ was crucified.  For those of us who follow Him, we know that this day was the day that saved us all.  We understand the importance of what Jesus did.  We know that when He was placed on that cross, all of our sins were placed on it with Him.

Other people do not see the importance of the story.  Many people deny the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, and deny the fact that He is God.  Some people are still waiting today for the Messiah that was spoken of in the Old Testament to come to Earth.  Sadly, these people have missed it.

Psalm 22 was written about 1000 years before the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Look at the words in Psalm 22:16-18:

“Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet. All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me. They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”

Sound familiar?  Psalm 22 lists several Messianic prophecies, including the crucifixion and the soldiers casting lots for the Messiah’s clothing.  How fitting then that Jesus words on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”(15:34), were a reference to the first verse in Psalm 22?  In all, Biblical scholars state there are over 300 Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament.  If Jesus were really the Messiah, he would have had to fulfill them all.  What some people fail to admit is that He did exactly that.

We will never be able to convince everyone that Jesus was the Messiah.  There will always be nonbelievers.  There will always be doubters.  As it is said in Ezekiel 12:2, “They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people.”  Our duty as followers of Jesus is to try to show them the Way.  We are to tell them the story of Jesus, and offer up the proof that He was and is the Christ.  After that, all we can do is pray that the Holy Spirit will turn their hearts of stone into hearts of flesh.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Betrayal of Judas


Daily Bible Reading – Job 25; Mark 13, 14

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 14:12-26

 

It is easy for Christians to be angry with Judas Iscariot.  After all, he betrayed Jesus and turned him over to the chief priests, which would ultimately lead to Christ’s crucifixion.  Because of his actions, Judas’ name has forever become synonymous with betrayal.  The visibility of his sin and the fact that it is written so boldly in the Scriptures makes it easy for us to see his sin and condemn him for it.

We too, however, are sinners.  Just as Judas betrayed Jesus, we too have all betrayed him.  In John 14:21, Jesus said, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”  There have been times when each of us has not kept Christ’s commands, and at these times, we have failed to show our love for Jesus.

Sin is an irritating problem.  The Apostle Paul spoke of sin’s nature in Roman’s 7:15 when he said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”  I once heard it said that when we knowingly sin, we decide in that moment that we love that sinful thought, word, or action more than we love Christ.  This has stuck with me and has always worked to convict me during times of temptation.

My question in all of this is the following: Are any of us really any better than Judas?  Have we not all betrayed Christ at one time or another?  While none of our betrayals are as visible as the betrayal of Judas, are we not just as guilty?  Fortunately, by God’s grace we have all been offered salvation and do not have to face the punishment for our betrayals.  Jesus Christ took that punishment for us.  If you do not know Jesus and if you have never accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, come to Him today and ask for his forgiveness.  If you do know Jesus, when temptation strikes remember that the best way for us to show Jesus our love for Him is to obey Him.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Overcoming Obstacles


Daily Bible Reading – Deuteronomy 10-12; Mark 16

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 16:1-8

On the Sunday following Jesus’ death on the cross, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome made their way toward the tomb where Christ was buried.  They carried with them spices to anoint Jesus’ body, which was a sign of love and respect at the time.  The knew where they were going, because they had watched Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus’ body to this particular tomb on the night of His death.  They saw Joseph place Jesus body in the tomb cut out of rock and they watched as he rolled a large stone against the entrance of the tomb.  From Matthew’s account of the Gospel (27:62-66), we know that Pilate placed guards at the tomb and sealed it to prevent anyone from trying to steal the body in an attempt to “fake” the resurrection.  As the women walked toward the tomb, they thought about the obstacles that were in their way.  They talked amongst themselves about the heavy stone that was blocking the opening of the tomb and they wondered how they were going to get inside to anoint Jesus’ body.  They may have also wondered how they were going to get past the guards, as they would likely keep the women from tampering with the body.  Looking back now to that walk toward the tomb, we might wonder what they thought they were going to accomplish by going there.  All of the signs pointed to them not even being able to see Jesus’ body because there were too many obstacles in the way, but the women went anyway.  They knew the obstacles that stood in their way, but they still took the journey and walked closer and closer to Jesus because they loved Him so much.  When they arrived at the tomb, they found that the obstacles they had worried about were no longer an issue.  The stone had been rolled away, and the guards were so afraid that they “shook and became like dead men”. (Matthew 28:4)  That is when the women heard the good news for the first time – Jesus is alive!

There are many times in our lives when the obstacles in front of us might seem insurmountable.  We may be tempted to think that we cannot go on; that we cannot possibly achieve our goals and we might as well just turn around and quit.  The women walking toward the tomb that day could have felt like that.  They might have been tempted to turn around and go home, but instead they kept on walking toward their Savior.  When life’s obstacles seem too great for us to deal with, that is what we must do as well.  Instead of quitting, we must keep walking toward Jesus.  We must step out in faith because of our love for Jesus, and leave everything else to God.  We must trust Him to help us along the way to overcome whatever obstacles life throws at us.  The women did not know how their journey was going to turn out, but they knew that the one thing they could control was what they chose to do that morning, so they chose to keep walking toward Jesus.  We do not know how our journey is going to turn out either, but we can keep walking toward Him, and trust that when we come to our expected obstacle we will find that God has already overcome it.


During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Peter Denies Jesus


Daily Bible Reading – Deuteronomy 5,6; Psalm 43; Mark 14

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 14:27-31

Picture this: You are living in the time of Jesus and you are one of His twelve disciples.  You have been following Jesus for some time now and you can honestly say that you love this man like you have never loved another person on earth.  You have seen Him heal the blind.  You have seen Him feed thousands with very little food.  You have seen Him raise the dead.  You have no doubt that this man is the long-awaited Messiah – the Savior of your people.  One night, you sit down to have a nice quiet dinner with Jesus and the rest of the disciples, but the dinner takes a strange turn.  All of a sudden, Jesus says that one of the twelve men sitting at the table with Him is going to betray Him.  He then goes on to say that all of the twelve men will fall away from Him.  What would you say to this?  This man is your friend.  He is also your God.  You would do anything for Him.  I would imagine that most of us would respond the same way Peter responded to Jesus.  Peter said, “Even if all fall away, I will not.”  It sounds like a reasonable argument – one that most of us would make in that same situation, but Jesus responds to Peter and says, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”  This had to be hard to hear.  It had to be even harder to believe.  It is no wonder that the next verse in the Bible says the following, “But Peter insisted emphatically, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the others said the same.”  The disciples, and Peter in particular, insisted emphatically that they would never disown Jesus.  Sadly, most of us already know what happens next in the story.  Only a few hours later, Judas led a group of soldiers out to arrest Jesus and in Mark 14:50 we read, “Then everyone deserted him and fled”.  After fleeing, Peter followed Jesus and the soldiers to the courtyard of the high priest.  There he was questioned by a young girl about whether or not he knew Jesus, and just as predicted Peter disowned Jesus three times.

Most of us who follow Christ would insist emphatically that we would never disown Jesus.  On Sunday morning in church, we would easily insist emphatically.  At home in prayer, we would easily insist emphatically.  When things are going well, we would easily insist emphatically.  Our true love for Jesus is revealed, however, not in the good times, but in the bad.  When tragedy strikes, would we be so quick to insist?  When it seems like our prayers have not been answered, can we still insist?  When we face persecution or mocking because of our faith, will we still insist?  When we are tempted to sin, do we still insist?  Just like the disciples, anyone can say they will follow Jesus during good times, but the test of a true believer comes during times of trial.  I have heard it said that when you squeeze grapes, you get to see grape juice, and when you squeeze a Christian you get to see what kind of faith he really has.  What will come out when you are squeezed by life?

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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The Sacrifice of Jesus Christ


Daily Bible Reading – Deuteronomy 3,4; Psalm 36; Mark 13

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 13:24-37

When you think of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, what comes to mind?  Do you think of the images presented in movies such as The Passion of the Christ of Jesus being beaten?  Do you think about the Roman officers spitting on Him and mocking Him?  Do you think about the crown of thorns He was forced to wear, the nails that were driven into His hands and feet, or the sword that pierced His side?  Do you think about His death and placement in the tomb and the three days He spent separated from God?  For most of us, when we think about His sacrifice, these are the images that flood our minds.  While all of these things are true and all of them are part of His sacrifice for us, they do not tell the whole story.  If we look in bigger terms, Jesus sacrifice for us involved a lot more than just His crucifixion and death.

In today’s key passage, Jesus tells His disciples about the future.  He speaks of the end times and about His return to glory, and tells His disciples (and us) not to be deceived by false teachers.  Near the end of our passage, Jesus provides a warning to the disciples (and us) to remain watchful for Christ’s return.  He says, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  Note that He includes Himself here and says that even He does not know when the end will come.  How can this be since Jesus and God are equal parts of the Holy Trinity?  If the Father knows when this day will come, why does Jesus not know?  The answers to these questions can be found in the sacrifice of Jesus.

We know from Scripture that Jesus was with the Father at creation.  We read in John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”  Later, Jesus himself said, “I tell you the truth,…before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)  Before He became a man, Jesus was with God in Heaven.  He was with God watching the state of the world and was one with God.  As part of this three-part Trinity, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit reigned supreme in the universe.  The Trinity created all things and is sovereign over all things.  When Jesus became a man, He voluntarily gave up his divine powers for a time.  He gave up some of His abilities and attributes of being God so that He could be a man.  When Jesus said that He did not know the time when the end would come, He was affirming His own humanity.  He was confirming to us the sacrifice He made to become a man and take away our sins.

Never underestimate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  He did not have to give up everything to come here and live as a man.  He did not have to come here to be beaten, mocked, and killed.  He did this – He made this sacrifice – out of love.  Imagine if a man walked up to you today, handed you one million dollars, and told you that the money was a gift to you from someone that loves you.  What would you think about that man?  Jesus gave up so much more than we can possibly imagine just to provide us a way to have eternal life, and He did it simply because He loves us.  The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was not just for the greats either.  It was not just for people like Moses, David, John, or Paul.  Jesus sacrifice was for me, and Jesus sacrifice was for YOU.  Jesus sacrificed everything to give YOU eternal life.  Think about that today, and praise Him for His sacrifice.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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A Barren Fig Tree That Bears No Fruit


Daily Bible Reading – Numbers 34-36; Mark 11

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 11:12-26

In today’s key passage, we find two events that took place during the week in which Jesus would be crucified.  The first event involves a fig tree.  Jesus saw from a distance that the fig tree was mature and was filled with leaves, but when he got close, it did not have any figs growing on it.  He cursed the fig tree for not bearing fruit, saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”  The next day when Jesus and the disciples passed by the fig tree, they noticed that it had withered from the roots.  The second event in our key passage is when Jesus entered the temple and began driving out the people who were doing business there.  He overturned tables and benches and stopped people from carrying merchandise, saying, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”  At first glance, these two events might appear to be unrelated.  Upon further review, however, we will find that these two stories are very much related because they both teach us the same lesson.  In fact, the event with the fig tree is really a live version of a parable regarding what happened in the temple.

So what is the lesson?  What is Jesus trying to teach us with these two stories?  Both stories talk about appearances differing from reality.  The fig tree appeared to be mature.  It was filled with leaves and should have been capable of bearing fruit.  In reality, though, it had no fruit to offer.  From a distance, the tree appeared to be fine, but up close, something was definitely wrong with it.  The “hypocrisy” of the fig tree hurt Jesus’ heart and he cursed the tree causing it to wither and die.  When he went to the temple, he was surrounded by “religious” people.  On the outside, these people appeared to be believers.  In reality, though, the moneychangers and the merchants often cheated people by charging inflated exchange rates and prices.  They basically extorted others during Passover in an effort to gain wealth, and used the temple to do it.  From a distance, the merchants appeared to be religious, but up close, something was definitely wrong with them.  The hypocrisy of the merchants hurt Jesus’ heart and he turned over their tables and called them a den of robbers.

As you can see, both of these stories teach us the same lesson.  When appearances do not match up to reality, it hurts Jesus’ heart.  It is not enough for us to “appear” to be religious.  It is not enough for us to “appear” to love Jesus.  It is not enough for us to “appear” to follow Him.  If we do not actually have faith in him deep down in our hearts, we are like the fig tree that bears no fruit or the moneychangers cheating people.  Going to church, having a relative who is a pastor or trying our best to be nice to others does not make us believers.  Acting one way when you are at church and then acting completely different at work is not what Jesus is looking for in a disciple.  God does not look at the externals.  Unlike people, He does not care about how we try to appear before others.  He only cares about our hearts.  He only cares about how we truly feel about him and about others.  Some people believe they can fake it until they make it, but Jesus knows better.  When we have great faith – true faith – it shows up in our hearts and we will bear fruit for the Kingdom.  If not, we will wither from the roots.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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A Childlike Faith


Daily Bible Reading – Numbers 32,33; Mark 10

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 10:13-16

Today’s reading was filled with many great stories, which made it very difficult for me to pick just one to write about.  I could have written about the warnings God gave Moses about driving out the Canaanites completely so as not to be corrupted (much like we should drive out all of our past sinfulness at conversion so as not to be corrupted), or I could have written about Jesus’ teachings on marriage and divorce or on serving others.  I almost chose to write about Jesus healing the blind beggar, who, though he had never actually seen Jesus or any of His miracles, still believed that Jesus was the Messiah.  In the end, though, I just kept coming back to today’s key passage and ultimately one key verse in which Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  It sounds like an easy thing to do, right?  Receive the kingdom of God like a little child.  That should not be too tough, but when we really examine what Jesus meant by this statement, we quickly realize that this might be a little bit more difficult than we first thought.

When I think about what it means to be childlike (in this context anyway), I mainly think about two characteristics.  The first characteristic of a child is their dependence.  Children would not go very far without their parents or some other type of guardian.  Without a guardian, how would the child be fed?  Where would the child get clothes?  How would the child get around?  Children are totally dependent on their guardians in every way.  More importantly, not only are children dependent on others, they KNOW that they are dependent on others.  Aside from a few “Home Alone” inspired fantasies, most children know that they need help.  They know they need someone else to provide them food, shelter, and comfort.  Even if they do not consciously think about it, they still know it to be true.  To truly have a childlike faith, we need to mirror this type of dependence, and therein lies the problem.  Sometimes it is hard for us to want to give up our independence.  We live in a world where everyone seems to strive for complete independence, yet Jesus was telling his followers that they should be totally dependent on God.  When we depend on God to provide for our needs instead of trying to do everything ourselves, our faith in Him grows.  When we try to break free and seek our own independence, we run into problems.  Just like children, we have to depend on God, and we also have to KNOW that we depend on God.  If not, we will start to run into issues with pride and idolatry.  To truly have a childlike faith, we must realize that we are completely dependent on God and that we are simply following Him wherever He leads.

The second characteristic of a child is trust.  Very young children trust most people as they have not been jaded by life experiences yet, and young children trust their parents or guardians without question and without exception.  At a certain point, of course, that level of trust starts to erode as children face disappointments or strife, but initially the level of trust a child has for their guardian is implicit.  This is the level of trust we should have for our Father in Heaven.  Just like a small child, we should not question that He is watching out for us.  We should not question that He loves us.  We should not question that God has plans for us – good plans to prosper us and not to harm us.  The problem, though, is that most of us have gone through so many different bad experiences along the way that we have trouble trusting anyone completely.  We tend to let this distrust of people flow over and we end up being distrustful of God.  We wonder why He is not moving fast enough for us.  We wonder if He has heard our prayers and if He is acting on our behalf.  We wonder if He will deliver for us.  The simple truth is that He will!  He will do everything He has said He will do.  He will never hurt you.  He will never lie to you.  He will never forsake you.  He loves you more than you can possibly imagine.  Embrace that love and trust Him completely, as an infant trusts his mother, and wait to see how He blesses your life.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Cut Off Your Hand and Pluck Out Your Eye


Daily Bible Reading – Numbers 30,31; Mark 9

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 9:42-50

In today’s key passage, Jesus makes one of the most radical statements in the Bible.  He tells us that if our hand or foot causes us to sin, we should cut it off, and if our eye causes us to sin, we should pluck it out.  According to Jesus, it would be far better for us to live our lives here on earth maimed than to spend eternity in hell.  What exactly is Jesus saying here?  Does he literally want us to pluck out our eye or cut off our hand?  Probably not.  As you have likely guessed, Jesus is using imagery to help us get the point.  Basically, what Jesus is calling us to do is rid ourselves from temptation.

We all know that sin can be a difficult thing to master.  Just when we think we have figured it out and we are doing well, we get hit with another temptation.  The woman behind the counter is rude to us.  An ex from high school contacts you on Facebook and asks if you want to get together.  The man handing you back change miscounts and gives you ten dollars too much.  The new hire at your office starts flirting with you.  Temptations to sin can literally come from anywhere at any time.  That is simply the way the enemy works.  We often find ourselves dealing with temptations, and most of the time, our natural tendency is to simply believe we can handle it.  We believe we can be strong enough to overcome the temptations and avoid sinning, and maybe we are right, but Jesus tells us there is a better way.  Jesus tells us to cut off the temptations completely.

The problem with temptation is that even when we do not succumb and actually sin, the temptation itself might still be affecting our relationships.  Our relationships with our friends and family might suffer.  Our relationship with our spouse might suffer.  Our relationship with God might even suffer.  Even when we believe we can handle temptations, the bottom line is that we often cannot change the way we feel.  Anything that we allow into our hearts is going to affect our lives and our relationships.  The wandering eye, what we watch on TV, and what we see on the Internet are all going to affect our relationships.  The good news is that even if we cannot always change the way we feel, we can change the circumstances that are causing us to feel that way.

Jesus wants us to take radical steps if necessary to cut off the temptations before they become a problem.  What does that look like?  What is too radical?  Is quitting your job too radical?  What about moving to a different neighborhood, or getting rid of your computer?  Are any of these things too radical?  Absolutely not.  We should do whatever we have to do to avoid the temptation to sin.  Is your job or your house really worth more than your relationship with your spouse or your relationship with God?  Do not take chances when it comes to temptations.  Follow Jesus’ advice and cut them off.


During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Jesus Restores Sight to a Blind Man


Daily Bible Reading – Numbers 28,29; Mark 8

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 8:22-26

In today’s key passage, a blind man is brought to Jesus asking for healing.  Jesus touches the blind man and asks him if he can see, to which the blind man replies, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”  Jesus then put his hands on the blind man’s eyes a second time and the man could see clearly.  So why was it necessary for Jesus to touch the man’s eyes twice?  Was healing this blind man too difficult for Jesus to do in one try?  Obviously, since we know that God is all-powerful, this cannot be the case.  God can do tremendous miracles.  He created the heavens and the earth and has the power to bring the dead back to life, so I am pretty sure Jesus could have healed this man with a single touch.  In fact, in some cases Jesus did not even have to touch people to heal them – he simply spoke the word and they were healed.  Since we know all of this, there must be a lesson in why he chose to touch the blind man twice.  There are two lessons that I learn from this story:

The first lesson I learn from this story is that not all healing will be instantaneous.  Jesus will always heal us eventually from everything that ails us, but sometimes He might not choose to do it right away.  Sometimes the healing will occur in stages.  For example, when we are born again, we do not wake up the next day and find that we never sin again.  That would be an immediate healing, and maybe some people see that, but for me the process seems to work more in stages.  The longer I walk with Christ, the better I become at overcoming temptation.  When I do inadvertently sin (like when I’m cut off in traffic and my flesh immediately responds in anger), I have found I am much quicker to repent of this sin than I was when I first started out.  If you are hurt deeply by another person, while you may be able to forgive them rather quickly it might take some time to actually forget about the offense.  We must not get discouraged if our healing is not immediate.  Sometimes, Jesus chooses to heal us in steps.

The second lesson is that sometimes we do not immediately perceive things the way God wants us to perceive them.  When we read an email from a friend and take offense to something that is said, it may be that our perception of what he was trying to say was simply wrong.  Sometimes when we get busy, we can easily begin to look at other people as if they are “trees” instead of looking at them as the people they are.  When we see others as a distraction or a burden, that is counterintuitive to how God wants us to see other people – as His children deserving of love.  At times, our immediate response to situations (like feeling anger over being cut off in traffic) is due to our flesh leading us instead of our spirit leading us.  When we choose to live in the spirit by keeping our focus on Christ, we can avoid many situations of having incorrect initial perceptions.  Strive to see things the way God sees them, and strive to act as He would in a given situation.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

John the Baptist Beheaded


Daily Bible Reading – Numbers 21-23; Mark 6,7

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 6:14-29

 

Jesus once said, “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:11), and in our key passage today we learn what happened to him.  John was a prophet – a servant of the Lord who came to pave the way for Jesus.  He was a great man who did many great things, so why was he ultimately killed?  John, like Jesus, hated sin.  John knew that all sin was bad and especially knew that unrepentant sin was really a slap to the face of God.  Therefore, when John found out that King Herod was committing adultery with his brother’s wife Herodias, he was not able to sit idly by and say nothing.  He told Herod that what he was doing was wrong – he called Herod on his sin in hopes that Herod would repent and turn to God.  This made Herodias furious and she wanted John the Baptist killed, but Herod initially did not want to kill John because he knew he was a righteous and holy man.  Ultimately, though, Herod succumbed to peer pressure and beheaded John.

So what can we learn from today’s key passage?  There are two important lessons we can take away from John’s gruesome fate.  The first lesson is about exposing sin.  When John saw Herod’s sin, he could have simply stayed quiet and not talked to Herod about his adultery.  As a man of God, though, John knew that sitting quietly while people around us sin is really the same as hating them and that not saying anything can often be confused for condoning sin.  John wanted to save Herod, and he knew that Herod needed to repent, so he went to him in love.  Ephesians 5:8-13 says, “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”  John chose to expose the darkness, and because of that choice he was arrested, imprisoned, and executed.  Does that mean that John made a bad choice in exposing Herod’s sin?  Absolutely not.  Exposing the sin certainly did not make John popular with Herod or Herodias, but that was not what mattered most to John.  What was most important to John was not what others thought about him but rather what God thought about him.  Exposing Herod’s sin was in line with the will of God, meaning John made the only correct choice when choosing to talk to Herod about it, regardless of the ultimate consequences.

The second lesson we can take from this story is not to crumble under pressure.  Herod did not want to kill John.  He feared John and he knew that John was righteous and holy.  Not even his wife could convince Herod to kill John.  Sadly, though, when Herodias’ daughter asked for John’s head Herod found himself in a jam.  He had told her to ask for anything she wanted and swore on oath that he would give it to her, and to deny her request would have made Herod look very foolish in front of his guests.  Herod was more concerned with what others thought about him than he was about doing what was right.  Though he knew killing John was wrong, he crumbled in the face of pressure and killed him anyway.

In this story, we instantly notice the striking contrast between John and Herod.  One man cared about doing what was right in the eyes of God, while the other cared about doing what was right in the eyes of other people.  Very often in life, we find that these two things are not the same.  When we are faced with choices, we should constantly be asking ourselves on which side we want to be.  Do we want to be like Herod and go along with what the world believes to be right, or do we want to be like John and do what God tells us is right.  In reality, this is the same question we have to answer every time we are tempted to sin.  When we make the right choice – when we act in accordance to God’s will instead of man’s will – we know we are making the right decision.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.

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