Summary: If Jesus is our King, then we need to take a bold stand for the Lord. John the Baptist certainly did, and John’s story can help us take a stand today.
Stand Up for Our Savior
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Oct. 26, 2008
*Last Tuesday night, Greg Wilton asked a great question: “Who’s your King?
-If Jesus is our King, then we need to take a bold stand for the Lord. John the Baptist certainly did, and John’s story can help us take a stand today.
1. First John teaches us not to be surprised by growing opposition.
*When John the Baptist stood up for the Lord, he ran into a buzz saw of opposition. -- And the same thing can happen to us. John took his stand against Herod the Tetrarch, and was consequently murdered in cold blood.
*Jerry Shirley gives us this important background:
-The Herod family looms large in your New Testament. First of all there was Herod the Great, who had at least 9 wives. Too bad they didn’t have 9 lives, because he thought nothing of killing them or his own children if they got in the way of his plans. Herod the Great is the one who slaughtered all the infants in Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth.
*Then there was his son, Herod the Tetrarch that we look at tonight. His title “Tetrarch” simply means “ruler over the fourth part of the kingdom.” This Herod was well known for living in luxury and materialism. Jesus once warned of the dangers of the “leaven of Herod,” which I believe is materialism and fleshly appetites. This Herod was a drunken, depraved man. His son was Herod Agrippa, who imprisoned Peter and killed James. And his son was Herod Agrippa II, who tried the Apostle Paul. What a wicked family! -- The mafia of the 1st century. (1)
Vs. 1-4 begin to look back at the fierce and growing opposition John faced from this family:
1. At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus
2. And said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.’’
3. For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.
4. For John had said to him, "It is not lawful for you to have her.’’
*Herod had John in prison, but the opinion polls were running against the Tetrarch. So in vs. 5 we read that: “Although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.”
*Then in vs. 6-8 we see behind the scenes conspiracy and intrigue:
6. But when Herod’s birthday was celebrated, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod.
*This was most likely a very lewd and seductive dance from a girl who was no more that 12 to 14 years old.
7. Therefore he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.
8. So she, having been prompted by her mother, said, "Give me John the Baptist’s head here on a platter.’’
*Behind the scenes conspiracy and intrigue... If we really knew all the dark things being plotted in our world we might be completely overwhelmed.
*Then in vs. 9-10 we see the deadly poison of pride:
9. And the king was sorry; nevertheless, because of the oaths and because of those who sat with him at the table, he commanded it to be given to her.