Herod and John

During the time of Jesus two men lived lives that couldn’t have been more different – Herod and John.  King Herod was over Galilee, and was a Roman governor.  He lived in a palace, was clothed with fine linen and robes, had many servants to fulfill his every need, ate what he wanted, did what he wanted, and lived a life of luxury and self-fulfillment.

John the Baptist lived a sparse life, had few possessions, devoted his life to prayer, teaching, preaching, and submission to the will of God.

Jesus compared John to Elijah the prophet, and paid him the highest compliment afforded to a man on this earth.

Towards the end of John’s ministry Herod had John imprisoned.  Apparently Herod was angry because John had told him that it was unlawful for him (Herod) to have his brother’s wife.  As most Bible scholars know, it was from a promise made by Herod at a party, that John was beheaded.

Now for the questions….

  1. How could John, who did nothing but please God, be condemned to death?
  2. How could Herod, who apparently did not have any regard for God, have power over the prophet of God, who was likened to Elijah the prophet?
  3. And now the finale – how could Jesus, who was alive and in His ministry at that time, allow this dastardly deed to be done to John?  Couldn’t He have done something to prevent this from happening?

These questions lie at the heart of our understanding, and misunderstanding, of how God works, and why He does the things He does.

Before we get into this, let’s be clear about one thing – it wasn’t a lack of power on the part of Jesus that resulted in John’s death.  Jesus had received power and authority from the Father, and it is pretty clear that no limit was placed on this power.  So, Jesus could have rescued John from this fate, but did not.  Why?

There are those who would say Jesus deliberately let John be beheaded, because John had to be removed, so Jesus could ascend to His proper position.  I’m sorry, but as logical as this sounds I’m not sure that is the reason.  Jesus did not have to get rid of John in order to come into His proper position.

The answer to these questions cannot be accurately answered by our limited understanding.  Why?  Because God doesn’t always do what we think He should do, or do as we would do.

So, what can we conclude then?  We can conclude that John did not leave this earth without God’s knowledge and permission.  While this permission does not indicate God’s approval of what happened, it indicates that He did not stop it.  But, we might say, it was so unfair.  Yes, it was unfair, just as unfair as it was for Hitler to slaughter six million innocent Jews during the 1930’s and 1940’s.  But, even if it was unfair, God did not stop it.

But, this isn’t the first or last time we have seen unfair circumstances.  We can go all the way back to Cain killing Abel to see the first recorded incident of unfairness.

So, who speaks for the victims such as Abel, John, James, and a myriad of others?  Who ensures that justice is done?  God does.

So, for folks such as Abel, John and James there is a compensation which comes directly from God.  For He alone has the ability to right every wrong, and to bring to justice those who escape punishment.

Remember Lazarus and the rich man.  In this life the rich man received everything good, and Lazarus received evil.  There is nothing to indicate that God fixed this inequality and injustice.  But, when they both died, then things were made right.  God’s justice prevailed.

So, what is the sum?  Simply this –

  1. We cannot understand or comprehend or reason out everything God does, or why He does what He does.
  2. While there may be injustice, unfairness, and inequality in this life, God will be the ultimate judge, and rest assured, all wrongs will be righted.
  3. Just because there appears to be no punishment for the wrong-doer, don’t be misled into thinking it escapes God’s attention.


One Response to “Herod and John”

  1. beamcguire@gmail.com Says:

    Wow! I really like this blog because it is a question that constantly comes up through working with people. Thanks for such great insight. I can use these words of wisdom for future questions on the matter! As always, blessings to you and yours!

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