This is an intriguing, and strange account we have in Mark 6, the beheading of John the Baptist. Hearing of the miracles of Jesus apparently made Herod have some haunting flashbacks about murdering John the Baptist. Prior to this passage, and the miracles Jesus was performing Herod’s wife Herodious set in motion an evil plan to do away with John the Baptist, because John openly criticized and rebuked Herod’s marriage to her because she was the wife of his brother. Apparently Herod had a thing for Herodius’ daughter Salome, she came in danced for him and his friends and he promised anything she wanted up to half of his kingdom. We know how the account goes, Salome goes to her mother, and is instructed to ask for the head of John.
I see a couple of things in the character of Herod that we can learn from, and I wanted to write about those things. First Herod was a man that acted on impulse, he made a huge decision when he was emotional. That is a dangerous thing. In the heat of the moment he offered half his kingdom to a woman because of how she made him feel. It was a decision that he quickly regretted, as verse 26 tells us he was “exceeding sorry” The principle is a simple one, don’t make decisions when you are emotional. Think before you act or speak. Wow, how that would help us in life, both in person and online. We speak and act based on how we feel in the moment so often, and we are left saying or doing something that we soon regret. Second Herod cared too much about what people thought. I refer back to verse 26 for this also, after it reads that Herod is “exceeding sorry” it goes on to say that because of his friends that sat by and watched, that he couldn’t say no to Salome. It tells us that he only honored his promise because of what his cronies would say, he feared their jeers, and their laughter at him. We preach a message on being cautious of peer pressure to teenagers often. We as adults struggle with it as well don’t we? Do you fear God, or man? It’s a question I asked myself as I am writing. William Barclay said “Many a man has done things he afterwards bitterly regretted because he had not the moral courage to do the right, many a man has made himself far worse than he is because he feared the laughter of his so-called friends.” It is pretty clear that we can learn as much about what not to do, or how not to act from God’s Word as we learn about how to act. Learn a lesson from Herod today.