Summary: This sermon focus on the life of John the Baptist. John was a man who was renowned for 1. His Humility 2. His Life of Repentance 3. His Integrity and Commitment His life shines as a sign post for all us to follow!
Scripture: Mark 6:14-29
Theme: John the Baptist
This sermon focus on the life of John the Baptist. John was a man who was renowned for 1. His Humility 2. His Life of Repentance 3. His Integrity and Commitment His life shines as a sign post for all us to follow!
Grace and peace from God our Father and from Our Lord and Savior King Jesus who came to take away the sin(s) of the world!
A couple of weeks ago we looked at a story that revealed to us the genius of Mark's ability to work alongside the Holy Spirit in writing the Gospel according to Mark. You may remember, it was the story of the woman with the issue of blood. What an amazing story of determination on both the woman's part and Jesus' part. You may remember that our King Jesus was not willing to let her go without receiving a "whole healing" - A SOZO healing (Body, Mind and Soul).
This week, we discover how much of a realist Mark was in writing His Gospel Story. Mark doesn't provide for us this pleasant story that is always filled with rosy pictures, multicolored butterflies that are leading all of us down a yellow brick pathway. Mark lets us know that Jesus had to face some very trying and difficult days. Days that we find him and his disciples completely exhausted (dog tired). Days that we find them hungry, alone with only a rock to use as a pillow and the hard ground to use as a bed. Days that we find them having to deal with all the trials and tribulations that come with confronting sin and rebellion in people's lives.
Up to this point Mark has been sharing with us at nearly break neck speed the incredible and amazing story of Jesus - His Preaching, His Teaching, His Supernatural Power to Heal and set people free from Spiritual Bondage. Even in the midst of rejection and small setbacks it seems as if the business of being a disciple of Jesus is relatively a piece of cake. Story after story of increasing fame, miracles and wonders beyond comprehension come quickly in succession.
Then we hit our passage this morning and suddenly the brakes are slammed on. Everything comes to screeching halt. We are thrust into a story that reminds us our world can be a very dangerous place especially if you want to stand up for God and righteousness. In fact, you might find yourself on the short end of the stick so to speak. You might even find yourself in mortal danger because you are proclaiming and standing up for the Kingdom of God. You might lose your job, your friends, your family and even your life all because the person in charge has a cowardly streak who is being manipulated by someone who is determined at all cost to seek and get revenge against you.
That is what we find out in the story concerning the demise of John the Baptist. Rather than being killed in some type of open confrontation what we read is that John was murdered through shrewd manipulation and cowardice. His untimely death came about because those who were in charge were apt to shout out foolish oaths, bow down to peer pressure and allow a spite filled, malice filled individual have their way.
This morning we could spend some time looking at King Herod Antipas, Herodias and/or her daughter. We could look at their lives and the cesspool of immorality, greed and pride that surrounded them. We could look at how these three people were responsible for taking the life of the first true prophet that the People of God had experienced in 400 years.
But to do so, I think, would dishonor the life of the amazing man that they callously murdered. And with that in mind I would like for us to take some time this morning and celebrate and learn from the life of the man John the Baptist. I believe that is what Mark would like for us to focus on and I believe that is why the Holy Spirit directed Mark to include this story in His Gospel.
Now, to get us going in the right direction there are a few things most of might already know about John the Baptist. We know for example:
+John's birth was marked by an angelic proclamation and divine intervention - Saint Luke shares this story in the first chapter of his Gospel.
+John's parents were Zacharias and Elizabeth - both of whom were descendents of Levi and therefore would have been involved in working around the Temple
+John was Jesus' second cousin from his mother's side Mary
+John was born about six months before the birth of Jesus