Is it not fascinating that John’s murderer was both afraid of him and attracted to him?

“Herod was afraid of John. Herod knew that John was a fair and holy man, so he protected him. When he listened to John, he would become very disturbed, and yet he liked to listen to him” (Mark 6:20 God’s Word).


Here John the Baptist speaks to King Herod fro...

Here John the Baptist speaks to King Herod from a hill (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


When I last read this story this is the part that struck me. Herod recognized John the Baptizer as righteous. When John preached it troubled Herod. Yet Herod liked to listen to him.

So the holiness, the closeness to God and the consistency of John’s message with his lifestyle and behaviour were undeniable. Yet Herod would not open up to God to be transformed into personal  holiness. The message attracted Herod, however, and so he kept listening, though doing nothing about the call of God upon him.

When John’s biggest enemy, Herodias, Herod’s wife (his sister-in-law in an immoral marriage) got a chance to destroy him she took it (Mark 6:17-28). Now suddenly John’s protector stopped protecting. The reason? Herod had put on a big show about a promise to his stepdaughter, and rather than look weak or indecisive the protector of John became the one who ordered him to die.


Salome With the Head of John the Baptist, by C...

Salome With the Head of John the Baptist, by Caravaggio, c. 1607 (National Gallery, London). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We are told nothing about the executioner who chopped John’s head off. What would you have done? Your duty? The moral thing and refused? Help John escape?

Anyway, I think this helps to explain murderous religious people. They are attracted to the spiritual life and message of the True Follower of Jesus, but rather than join the Jesus Team they destroy the messenger. Silence the preacher and the call for holy living also falls silent, right?

Except God will keep calling (as was the case with St. Paul, formerly known as Saul). Religious people have murdered prophets, trashed clergy, gossiped good people into oblivion and climbed the ranks of the religious structure.

Does it not make you weep that the people who brutalise you in the name of God will stand before the Great Judge who will declare them guilty of their sin and crime?

We get wrapped up in our own pain, agenda, revenge, confusion, debate or striving to justify ourselves and lose sight of eternity.

The people and structures that have done such harm to me in the past are worthy of my prayers, even my love as Jesus loved!

It takes a while to come to that, but until you do are you any better than the ones you condemn?

That might push you to a frightening thought that might pull you closer to Jesus.