Summary: Message discussing the various people involved in the death of John the Baptist.
How Will You Be Remembered?
October 1, 2006
I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to read are biographies of people who made a difference.
People like Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington. Pee Wee Herman...
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Billy Graham.
You get the idea.
In the Scriptures we find descriptions of the lives of many, many people. Some are remembered for good, others for the bad they did.
Some of the more fascinating biographies in Scripture are those found in Kings and Chronicles.
Some of the kings died and the people mourned, like they did for David.
But there was one king, Jehoram, who ruled Judah for a while, and here’s what the Bible says about him –
Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. He passed away, to no one’s regret, and was buried in the City of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.
Yowza. How would you like to be remembered like that? Not me.
Well, as I was looking at our passage for today, I started thinking about what we could take away from this that could really make a difference in our lives if we’d let it.
This got me to thinking about the different personalities that are involved in this incident from Scripture, and then I got to thinking about what it was about them that made us remember them.
And that’s how I got to the title and theme of the message, and that is basically, how will you be remembered?
I’m guessing we’d all like to be remembered well. But obviously, not everyone is.
For instance, when I say, “Adolph Hitler,” do you just get flooded with warm fuzzies? How about “Charles Manson?”
Kinda icky, huh? Kinda the way I feel when I hear “Barney the Purple dinosaur.”
Let’s look at our passage and see what we can learn from three people in particular, okay?
Please turn with me to Matthew 14:1-12 (Page 692) –
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and he said to his attendants, "This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him."
3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: "It is not lawful for you to have her." 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet.
6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
What I want to focus on here isn’t so much the fact of the martyrdom of John, as much as to look at the people involved in that tragic ending of John’s life.
I want to point out…
Three “characters” (and their characters…)
In other words, their internal make-up, if you will.
There is a ton of stuff we can learn that will impact us, if we’ll let it.
And so let’s just kind of dive in, shall we?
Let’s start by looking first of all at…
1. Herodias – the schemer.
Some background is necessary here:
Herod the Great was the ruler of Judea when Jesus was born. He’s the one who ordered the slaughter in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the infant Jesus.
Herod had several children. Three of his sons became rulers over portions of Judea when he died.
Now it’s important to understand that Rome had ultimate authority in Judea, and the Herods were basically puppet kings who had to submit to Caesar.
Anyway, one of Herod the Great’s sons was Herod Antipas, or Herod the tetrarch, and he’s the one discussed in our passage today.
Another son of Herod the Great was Herod Philip, who lived in Rome as a private citizen. He was not a ruler of any part of Judea.
Now here’s where it’s going to get a bit strange.
I’m sure by now that you’ve noticed that the name Herodias is similar to Herod, right?