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Summary: The results of the Sin of others can seriously affect us in ways that we struggle to control; however there is victory exposing the weapons of Satan, if you know where to look.

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Summary: The results of the Sin of others can seriously affect us in ways that we struggle to control; however there is victory exposing the weapons of Satan, if you know where to look.

This sermon was delivered to the congregations in St Oswald’s,

in Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland on the 15th July 2012.

(A Scottish Episcopal Church in the Dioceses of Glasgow and Dumfries).

2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19 Psalm 24 Ephesians 1:3-14 Mark 6:14-29

Prayer: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit let these words bring you honour, and prepare us to live in the world which you have given us; in Jesus name we ask, Amen.

Introduction.

It will come as no surprise that the sermon today is all about animal cunning and selfish ambition.

The execution of John the Baptist is not a pretty story as it reflects this world in which we live. Ok, we do not see people’s heads being cut off, but the results of somebody else’s sin do affect us in ways we struggle to control.

Yet there is much to learn from this story, in fact there is victory exposing the weapons of Satan, if you know where to look; so you need to follow me closely on this one.

To start with, we here the first reference to John the Baptist in Mark away back in Chapter 1, (for us that was away back at Christmas), when John was imprisoned for speaking his mind against Herod and his family; and we here nothing more from him until today’s readings in Mark Chapter 6 or (today, the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost).

Now there are a few Herods mentioned in the New Testament. The Herod we are talking about here is not the Herod commonly referred to as Herod the Great, you know, the one who was king when Jesus was born, the one who had all the infants murdered because of his paranoia after the visit of the three wise men. This Herod was insanely suspicious, and at the end of his life he did not only have innocents killed, but even those within his own family. Even Caesar in Rome is reported to having said, and I quote, “it was safer to be Herod’s pig than to be than Herod’s son.”

Now it was this Herod’s son that we are talking about today, Herod Antipas; who was fortunate enough to survive this wrath; and this makes me think He was weak but smart, because he avoided his father and stayed alive; whereas his brothers, who challenged his father, did not.

Not only did Herod Antipas survive, so did two of his half brothers; one called Herod Philip, and the other, Herod Aristobulus; whose daughter was Herodias; an odious anti-hero.

Herodias was initially married to Herod Philip, (her uncle); and between them they had a daughter called Salome: but Herodias was an ambitious, deceitful woman, and would do anything to get her way; and so she “dumped” Herod Philip and married his half brother Herod Antipas; the one with all the power and wealth.

(Herodias being really cunning in order to marry Herod Antipas, and manipulate Herod Philip into letting their daughter Salome go with her; and by the way, Herod Antipas was no innocent either, as one must have led the other on).

Are you all with me? What a family, what a mess? And although they both had a choice; they now find themselves married to each other, but not a marriage of bliss; because there was a man of God present, a man of God who saw the situation for what it was; and who was determined to speak the truth. His name was John the Baptist.

I admire John for this because he knew exactly what type of family he was speaking against, and he knew that by speaking out, regardless of how righteous it was, it would get him killed. But John did not take the easy way out, he spoke boldly, he spoke the truth, and he paid the consequences.

At first he was lucky to be thrown in prison, because it was Herod Antipas’ conscience which saved him; as he knew John was a man of God, and he knew he was doing wrong under the Jewish law.

Herodias however did not have this conviction, and her solution was simple; remove the man, and thereby remove the problem. So between them a compromise must have been reached and John was thrown in prison to shut him up.

Although it does not say in the bible, this must have made John a sort of Martyr, and instead of making the problem go away, it magnified it; because it was their reaction to John accusations which put him in prison. If there was no truth in what John had said, why bother with him. John must have got right through to both Herodias and Antipas’ hearts. John he could see through them, and they knew it.

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