Summary: John was the greatest prophet ever born, the only prophet prophesied of by at least 2 prophets in Scripture, marked by unusual courage, who mentored several leaders of the early church & altered a nation.
THE LEGACY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
A. HUMOR: PLAYPEN
1. A young mother complained to her friend about the difficulties of child rearing, especially the lack of peace and constant pestering by her small children.
2. Her friend smiled and said, "What you need is a playpen to separate the kids from yourself!" So the young mother bought a playpen.
3. A few days later, her friend called to ask how things were going. “Awesome! I can't believe how nice it is" she replied. "I get in the pen with a good book and the kids don't bother me one bit!"
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.
1. Jesus said that John the Baptist was the greatest prophet ever born; that’s an amazing statement since it includes Moses and Elijah!
2. John alone was prophesied of ahead of time in the Bible. He was unusual in what he ate (bugs & honey), what he wore (scratchy animal hair), and where he preached (in the desert), and his message – “Repent!”
3. But his results were unparalleled; all the country went out to hear him and was baptized, confessing their sins. God’s mission for him was to prepare Israel for the Messiah, Jesus Christ. He did an excellent job.
4. This passage today was the sad story of his death at the hands of Herod, during the birthday party of Herod. The good news is, John left a tremendous legacy by his faith, his preaching, and his influence. This is entitled “The Legacy of John the Baptist.”
I. THE UNIQUE STORY OF JOHN’S DEATH
A. IDENTITY OF THE PERPETRATORS
1. This Herod, Antipas (B.C. 4 – 39 A.D.), was a son of Herod the Great and inherited one-fourth of his kingdom – Galilee & Perea.
2. He was married to the daughter of King Aretas, an Arabian King, but became intrigued with Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife while he was a guest in his house.
3. Herod & Herodias eventually eloped together, though both were still married. She herself was a granddaughter of Herod the Great and a daughter of Herod Agrippa I. Her husband Philip was also her uncle!
4. Herodias was also the daughter of Simeon, the High Priest. She was a Jewess, which even more greatly aggravated the Jews.
5. She had a daughter by Philip, Salome (Josephus, Ant. 18.5.4), which more strongly made her his proper wife.
B. INVOLVEMENT OF JOHN THE BAPTIST