Summary: Message on the beheading of John the Baptist and warning signs that we must heed as followers of Jesus.
Mark 6:14-29 Danger Zone
Bethel Church of the Nazarene
April 6, 2014
A. I want you to view a brief video clip with me this morning. Don’t speak out loud if you know the show this clip came from. I want to know who the youngest person is who can identify this show. (Show the video clip from Youtube address-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWwOJlOI1nU. This is a 5 second clip from the old TV series Lost In Space with the Robot saying “Danger Will Robinson!”)
B. We are heading into the Danger Zone today as we make our way through Mark’s Gospel. We saw earlier in Mark 6 that Jesus was rejected in his hometown and was amazed at the lack of faith he found there. Following that he went out teaching from village to village and sent the 12 out as an extension of his ministry. He gave them authority over evil spirits and they went out and preached that people should repent.
C. In verses 14-29 we come to one of the more disturbing stories in the New Testament. Let’s read it together today.
14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
15 Others said, “He is Elijah.”
And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
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.
21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”
“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.
25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
A. Confessions of a pastor in sermon preparation. As I read and studied this passage earlier this week I confess that I wondered what possible application it could have to our lives. Was the message-Follow Jesus like John the Baptist and have your head cut off? Was it-Don’t let your daughter do the dance of death? At first glance it may seem that this story is so bizarre and brutal that it has no real application to our lives. Now hold that thought for just a moment and we will come right back to it.
B. One of the aids in driving is warning signs. They make us aware of potential dangers. They warn us of what is ahead and caution us to be careful. (I put together a Power Point show with road warning signs. These are easy to find and some from other countries can be quite humorous.)
C. Warning signs are not meant to tell us we are bad drivers, but to help us to be good drivers. They warn us of potentially dangerous places in the road ahead of us.
D. There are many warning signs in scripture. There are stories of people’s failures such as David and Bathsheba. There are clear commands such as the Ten commandments. .They are not meant to constantly remind us of how bad we are, but they are meant to point us in the way of Christ. Yes, they may expose sin, but they may also serve to remind us of the kind of life we should avoid as followers of Christ. They are very much like warning signs about potential danger zones in life.