“For Herod had seized John, bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias (his brother Philip’s wife), because John had been saying to him “It is not lawful for you to have her, (Herod).” And though he wanted to put him to death, he feared the people because they held (John) to be a prophet. But, when Herod’s birthday came the daughter of Herodias danced before the company and pleased Herod-so that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother she said “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” And the king was sorry but because of his oath and his guests he commanded it to be given.” Matt 14:3-9
Herod got caught between a rock and a hard place of his own making. There is a lesson here besides reviewing history about John and Jesus: How compromised do we make ourselves in the same way Herod did? How recognizable is the narrow path when I want to go my own way? When do I get caught up with the flow of life and neglect remembering the Way of the Cross?
To be clear, it would be difficult to assign to Herod any positive aspects as it would pertain to following the Law or of Godliness before the Ancient of Days. But I think I can broadly recognize Herod’s response as possibly my own:
* Hide my sin. Bind it, hide it, and don’t talk about it.
* Ignore the Voice telling me of my sinful ways.
* Fear of man; fear of the crowd; fear of another’s opinion of me.
* Liking to hide in my favorite pastime; get my mind off my troubles.
* Blanketing or covering my sin with more sin.
* Committing to foolish promises.
Probably more here, this is just from the top of the analysis of the passage. The point I take away here isn’t that Herod is terrible in all of his ways but that I am similar to Herod if not just like him. Herod was ate up with supplying and protecting his own desires. Am I really any different?
The Gospel is more than just the message for the “unsaved”-it is relevant to every aspect of our lives. I must review and preach the Gospel daily to myself because I forget-I forget about its power, I forget about the implications, I forget to whom I owe my life, my breath, my every being. I forget that only through Christ I can escape the Wrath that I richly deserve. I forget that my sin has been overcome and that sin no longer has dominion over me. I also forget that sin is crouching at my door, like a devouring lion, and that the daily pull is to glide into sin’s orbit.
So what are my steps to counter this? Perhaps the first and foremost step is to understand as full as I can that my sin is without a doubt an affront to God. When I sin, I sin against God. My sin is not against another primarily, it is against the Most High. Acknowledge, confess, and repent. Confess to another-perhaps your spouse, perhaps a significant godly person in the local Church. Confess and ask for forgiveness to anybody that was in the orbit of our sin-wife, children, coworkers, boss, etc.
This is never easy; grates at the ego level. But…the Way of the Cross isn’t easy. Consider Jesus.
Lord God: Walking worthy of the Gospel is what I long for. It is also my daily struggle. Why? Because the old man in me recoils in obeying You. I am so very thankful that I cannot overcome sin by mere discipline as if gritting my teeth is all that is necessary to obey You. I am comforted by You the Holy Spirit who powers me up to do Your Will. Your Sovereignty to untie the chains of sin and the responsibility You give/place on me to press in-how can I ever understand this? It is a mystery. Thank you for saving me. AMEN.