Sunday, July 12, 2009

Pentecost 6

Today's readings: Psalm 85, Amos 7:7-15, Ephesians 1:3-14, and Mark 6:14-29 (sermon text).

John the Baptist lost his head to slake a woman's grudge. Thank God that this gruesome story isn't sugarcoated; God takes evil head-on, and here's a good example. The Bible is about Jesus Christ coming to us in our sinfulness, then forgiving our sins. Have a look.

Even Herod had heard of Jesus' name and wondered about the rumors. The earlier miracles had served to draw attention to His purpose; later they would diminish. Beginning at verse 16 is the connection: Jesus' fame made Herod think that John was resurrected. Verse 17 delves into the history of the incident; but first, let's deal with Herod. This man was one of the four sons of Herod the Great; he received Galilee as his jurisdiction. Then John came along, criticizing the wrongful marriage of Herodias (Philip's divorcee) and Herod. This caused a grudge. Oddly, Herod was protecting John - never converted, but liked to listen.

Next came the banquet. Intoxicated, Herod was recklessly generous. Herodias' daughter, faithful to her mother to a fault, returned to demand the Baptist's head. Now suddenly sobered, Herod fearfully complied, placating the mother by getting the law of God out of the way. There's a lesson to us in our culture: DO NOT compromise God's Word, putting your self-trust ahead of God-trust. In the end, our earthly bodies are just bones. The one thing needful is Christ. We need nothing else; He must increase as we must decrease.

Trust in God alone, not in your stuff. After all, He's indestructible.

VBS is this coming week, with a special visitor. Please pray for the kids.

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