Mark 6:14-29

Sunday Morning Bible Study

November 28, 2004


Jesus is becoming more and more popular.  He is having to deal with huge crowds.  He’s now sent the twelve disciples out on their first mission trip, without Him.

:14-29 Family Values

:14 And king Herod heard of him; (for his name was spread abroad:) …

Herod Antipas I – a son of Herod the Great. Herod Antipas was tetrarch (ruler of a fourth part of his father’s kingdom along with three of his brothers) of Galilee and Perea (the northern areas of Israel) with the backing of Rome from 4 BC to AD 39. Technically, he was not a full-fledged king but he served the function of a king.

Jesus is becoming well known, even to the point that now the palace of Herod has heard about Jesus.

Perhaps the six teams of apostles going out on their first mission trip has even helped make Jesus more famous.

John the Baptist was not a man who performed miracles (John 10:41). Yet Herod wonders that if Jesus is really John back from the dead, maybe that would explain the miracles.

:15 Others said, That it is Elias …

There were a lot of different ideas about Jesus. People didn't know what to make of Him. We’ll see these ideas brought up again as Jesus quizzes His disciples about who they think He is (Mark 8:27-29).

:16 But when Herod heard thereof, he said, It is John, whom I beheaded

Herod has some wrong ideas about Jesus.

His bad ideas are based on his own guilty conscience.

Luke tells us that Herod was curious about Jesus and wanted to see Him:

(Luke 9:9 KJV) And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

Herod will finally meet Jesus when Jesus would stand trial to be crucified (Luke 23:6-8)

:17 …and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake…

This is a flashback to explain what had happened to John.

prison - According to Josephus, this prison was at the grim fortress-palace of Machaerus on the barren heights of Moab near the northeastern shore of the Dead Sea.


It all starts with King Herod the Great, who had seven sons by several wives, including Herod Antipas.

Herod Antipas had first married a daughter of the Arabian king, Aretas IV.

Then he fell in love with his niece Herodias, who was the daughter of his half-brother, Aristobulus. Aristobulus was already dead, having been killed out of paranoia by his own father Herod the Great. Herodias was a granddaughter of Herod the Great.

Herodias was already married to her uncle, Herod’s other half-brother Philip.

Herod ended up divorcing his wife and marrying Herodias, who had divorced her husband Philip.

Herodias and her first husband Philip had a daughter, Salome. Salome would end up marrying another Philip, who was also a half-brother of Herod. Confusing?

Have you ever heard of the phrase, “it was like kissing your sister”? Well with the Herod family, they wouldn’t just kiss their sister, they’d marry her. Yuck.

Reminds me of that old Country song, “I am my own grandpa …”

I'm My Own Grandpa (written by Lonzo & Oscar, recorded by Ray Stevens)

Now many, many years ago, when I was twenty-three,
I was married to a widow who was pretty as could be.
This widow had a grown-up daughter who had hair of red.
My father fell in love with her, and soon they, too, were wed.

This made my dad my son-in-law and changed my very life,
My daughter was my mother, cause she was my father's wife.
To complicate the matter, even though it brought me joy,
I soon became the father of a bouncing baby boy.

My little baby then became a brother-in-law to Dad,
And so became my uncle, though it made me very sad.
For if he was my uncle, then that also made him brother
Of the widow's grown-up daughter, who, of course, was my stepmother.

Father's wife then had a son who kept him on the run,
And he became my grandchild, for he was my daughter's son.
My wife is now my mother's mother, and it makes me blue,
Because, although she is my wife, she's my grandmother, too.

Now if my wife is my grandmother, then I'm her grandchild,
And everytime I think of it, it nearly drives me wild,
For now I have become the strangest case you ever saw
As husband of my grandmother, I am my own grandpa!

I'm my own grandpa.
I'm my own grandpa.
It sounds funny, I know, but it really is so,
Oh, I'm my own grandpa.

:18 It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife.

Part of John’s ministry would be about “family values”.  His father, Zecharias, was told by an angel about John’s future ministry:

(Luke 1:17 NLT)  He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah, the prophet of old. He will precede the coming of the Lord, preparing the people for his arrival. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will change disobedient minds to accept godly wisdom."

John wasn’t trying to legislate his own morality or make Herod fit into John’s own ideas.  He was telling Herod what God’s ideas were about things.  His moral values were based on God’s ideas, not his own.

(Lev 18:16 NLT)  Do not have intercourse with your brother's wife; this would violate your brother.

:19 Therefore Herodias had a quarrel against him…

had a quarrel - enecho - hold a grudge against someone. Imperfect tense - she had a grudge and continued to nurse it.

There are some definite parallels here with the prophet Elijah and King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.

Herodias was quite an ambitious gal. She would eventually persuade Herod Antipas to go to Rome and beg Caesar to be made a king, but instead they were banished to Gaul, where they were never heard from again.

:20 For Herod feared John…and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

observedsuntereo – to preserve; Herod protected John from his own wife.

Though Herod was disturbed by the things John said, he also held John in great respect and apparently visited John often in prison to hear him speak.


One Confused Man

A man absolutely hated his wife’s cat and decided to get rid of him one day by driving him 20 blocks from his home and leaving him at the park. As he was getting home, the cat was walking up the driveway! The next day he decided to drive the cat 40 blocks away. He put the beast out of the car and quickly headed home. Driving back up his driveway, there was the cat again! He kept taking the cat further and further away but the cat would always beat him home. At last he decided to drive quite a few miles away—so he turned right, then left, past the bridge, then right again and another right until he reached what he thought was a safe distance from his home and left the cat there. Hours later the man calls home to his wife: “Hon, is the cat there?” “Yes,” the wife answers, “why do you ask?” Frustrated, the man answered, “Can you please put him on the phone? I’m lost and need directions”
Do you need the cat or want to lose it?  Make up your mind.
Herod was a confused man.
He knew that John was a good guy. He feared and respected John. He protected John.
But he was disturbed by John and the things John said. John made him uncomfortable. John challenged Herod’s lifestyle.
Herod is caught in this trap of hearing what is good and right, yet living a life that contradicts all that is good and right. And he feels that he can’t give up the things he knows are wrong.
He’s caught on the fence. He has too much of the world to be comfortable with the things of God. He has heard too much about God to be comfortable with the things of this world.
Last Sunday, Billy Graham reminded us how the days before Jesus’ return will be similar to the days of Sodom and Gomorrah:
(Luke 17:28-33 KJV)  Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; {29} But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. {30} Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. {31} In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. {32} Remember Lot's wife. {33} Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.

Lot was a righteous man, but his family lived in Sodom.  Lot’s wife apparently liked the life in Sodom.  When the angels showed up to evacuate Lot’s family from Sodom, she was reluctant to leave.  When the city was destroyed, she looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt.

Is this you?  Are you living on the fence between what God wants you to do and what the world wants you to do?

:22 …the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced…

daughter ... came in – from vs. 24-25, it seems that Salome was sent in by her mother.  The language used (“damsel”, korasion) indicates that she’s a gal in her middle teens.

danced – Salome was not performing her ballet recital. She was performing a sexually enticing dance, designed for a group of drunken, dirty old men.

Even in this culture, this was not the kind of thing that a daughter of a queen should have been part of. It was usually something reserved for “professional” dancers (prostitutes).

:25 …she came in straightway with haste …by and by in a charger …

Before anyone can change their mind, Salome asks for John’s head on a plate.

:26 And the king was exceeding sorry…

Drunken King Herod switches emotions quickly from drunken pleasure to being greatly grieved as he realizes he's going to become the murderer of this man that he fears, respects, and has protected.

:27 And immediately the king sent an executioner

executioner - spekoulator - of Latin origin; a member of the emperor’s body guard; kind of like the president's secret service guard.

The Battle for the family

I find it kind of ironic that John the Baptist, whose ministry included that of setting families straight, would be killed by a family who was so messed up.


Family Values

Then you think about Salome and her seductive dance, it’s probably not all that surprising when you think of her family history.
There’s a new hit TV show on ABC. It has almost 25 million viewers every week. It has hit the top five faster than any new drama since “ER” in 1994. It’s called “Desperate Housewives”. The show is shot on the back lot of the studio on “Wisteria Lane”, one of the houses on the set was the home to Ward and June Cleaver. But times have changed. I guess there may be some people watching this show thinking that it is parallel to their lives somehow, but the story lines I read about in this week’s Newsweek are sure filled with desperate people, but desperate people who are looking in all the wrong places to find real meaning in life.
I hate to think of how the daughters of this world are going to be impacted by “desperate” housewives. I imagine there will be a few more “Salomes” and Britney Spearses coming along.
Parents have an affect on their children. The affect can last for generations.
Several years ago the Christian Life and Faith magazine presented some unusual facts about two families. In 1677 an immoral man (Max Jukes) married a very licentious woman. Nineteen hundred descendants came from the generations begun by that union. Of these, 771 were criminals, 250 were arrested for various offenses, 60 were thieves, and 39 were convicted for murder. Forty of the women were known to have venereal disease. These people spent a combined total of 1300 years behind bars and cost the State of New York nearly 3 million dollars.
The other family was the Edwards family. The third generation included Jonathan Edwards who was the great New England revival preacher and who became president of Princeton University. Of the 1,344 descendants, many were college presidents and professors. One hundred eighty-six became ministers of the gospel, and many others were active in their churches. Eighty-six were state senators, three were Congressmen, 30 judges, and one became Vice President of the United States. No reference was made of anyone spending time in jail or in the poorhouse.
The example we set starts when they’re little.
There are little eyes upon you,
And they're watching night and day
There are little ears that listen
To every word you say.
There are little hands all eager
To do the things you do;
And a little boy who's dreaming
Of the day he'll be like you.
You're the little fellow's idol,
You're the wisest of the wise;
In his little mind, about you
No suspicions ever rise.
He believes in you devoutly,
Holds that all you say and do
He will say and do in your way
When he's grown up just like you.
There's a wide-eyed little fellow
Who believes you're always right;
And his ears are always open
As he watches day and night.
You are setting an example
Every day in all you do,
For the little boy who's waiting
To grow up to be like you.

-- Edgar A. Guest

They still need it when they’re older. They need our time.

Spending Time

The Bible says,
(Deu 6:6-7 KJV) And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: {7} And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

That means spending time with your kids. Yet …

The amount of total contact parents have with their children has dropped 40% during the last quarter century. In 1965, the average parent had roughly 30 hours of contact with his or her children each week. Today, the average parent has just 17 hours of child contact per week.

-- Dr. John Robinson, Homemade, February, 1991

Give an example

Don’t just give time.  Give guidance. The Bible says,
(Prov 22:6 KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Abraham Lincoln said that for a man to train up a child in the way he/she should go, he must walk that way himself.
One gal wrote, “Children have a much better chance of growing up if their parents have done so first.”
From the Reader's Digest:
The ultimate leaders develop followers who will surpass them. Runners will become coaches and train other athletes who will break their records. Executives will motivate subordinates so successfully that they will become their superiors. And parents, in their devotion to a child, will pull him or her up beside them—and then encourage the child to go even higher.
When Harry and Ada Mae Day had their first child, they traveled 225 miles from their ranch to El Paso for the delivery, and Ada Mae brought her baby, Sandra, home to a difficult life. The four-room adobe house had no running water and no electricity. There was no school within driving distance.
But the Days did not allow themselves to be limited by their surroundings. Harry had been forced by his father’s death to take over the ranch rather than enter Stanford University, but he never gave up hope that his daughter would someday study there. Sandra’s mother first taught at her home, and also saw to it that the house was stocked with newspapers, magazines and books. One summer the Days took their children to all the state capitals west of the Mississippi.
Sandra did go to Stanford, to law school, and became the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. On the day of her swearing in, the family was there. “She looked around, saw us and locked her eyes right into ours,” said her brother, Alan. “That’s when the tears started falling.”
What motivates a woman like Sandra Day O’Connor? Intelligence, of course, and inner drive. But much of the credit goes to a determined ranch mother sitting in her adobe house, reading to her children by the hour, and who, with her husband, scampered up the stairways of capitol domes, their children in tow.
An exotic dancer or a Supreme Court justice?
I think that good parenting has an affect on the outcome.
Spend time. Be an example.

Kids toward parents

Zecharias’ prophecy about John contained a quote from Malachi:
(Mal 4:5-6 KJV)  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: {6} And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
There is a connection between preparing the way of the Lord and families.
How can hearts be turned?  It starts with prayer.  Pray for your kids.  Pray for your parents.