According to both biblical and secular accounts, the Herods weren’t exactly the most honorable monarchs. In Matthew 2, Herod the Great fearfully ordered the mass genocide of all boys aged two years and younger in and around Bethlehem. In Acts 12, Herod Agrippa murdered the apostle, James, and persecuted the early church. And, In Mark 6, we read the dreadful account of how Herod Antipas ordered the beheading of John the Baptist.
As Christians, we are horrified at the great evil some men and women are capable of, and, while we think that we’d never stoop to such immoral depths, have we ever been guilty of “beheading John”?
The Bible tells us in Mark 6:20 that, “Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.” Despite their unique relationship, it quickly became clear that Herod’s loyalty to John had its price.
Beginning in verse 25, the daughter of Herod’s unlawful wife, “…came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.” So, in order to win the approval of his family and his guests, Herod ordered the gruesome murder of John.
In Galatians 1:10, Paul explained that if we are trying to seek the approval of men, we cannot be a disciple of Christ. Therefore, any time we favor the endorsement of our friends and family over correction from God, it’s as if we are guilty of beheading John.
The moral of the story? Don’t be a Herod. In the end, we may “save face”, but we will lose our souls.