14 Now King Herod heard this, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptiser has been raised from the dead, and because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” Others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets from the past.”
Flashback to a wild party where King Herod is throwing down. But it’s not all fun and games. Enter John the Baptist, a bold messenger calling out the king’s not-so-great life choices. Courage often means speaking truth to power.
16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised!” 17 For Herod himself had sent men, arrested John, and bound him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. 18 For John had repeatedly told Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not 20 because Herod stood in awe of John and protected him, since he knew that John was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him, he was thoroughly baffled, and yet he liked to listen to John.
John isn’t afraid to be a party-pooper when it comes to righteousness. He challenges Herod’s choices, and it doesn’t sit well with the king or his wife, Herodias. Courage might make you a party-pooper, but sometimes the party needs a reality check.
21 But a suitable day came, when Herod gave a banquet on his birthday for his court officials, military commanders, and leaders of Galilee. 22 When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” 23 He swore to her, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.”
Enter Herodias’s daughter, dancing up a storm. Herod, impressed and probably a bit tipsy, makes a bold promise—anything she asks for, up to half his kingdom. The consequences of courage might involve unexpected challenges and dilemmas.
24 So she went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother said, “The head of John the baptiser.” 25 Immediately she hurried back to the king and made her request: “I want the head of John the Baptist on a platter immediately.”
Herodias’s daughter, prompted by her mum, asks for John the Baptist’s head on a platter. Talk about a fearless request! Courage might lead to uncomfortable requests, but standing firm in your beliefs is worth it.
26 Although it grieved the king deeply, he did not want to reject her request because of his oath and his guests. 27 So the king sent an executioner at once to bring John’s head, and he went and beheaded John in prison. 28 He brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother.
Despite his hesitation, Herod orders John’s execution to save face in front of his guests. The fearless messenger pays the ultimate price for speaking truth to power. Courage can have severe consequences, but some truths are worth sacrificing for.
29 When John’s disciples heard this, they came and took his body and placed it in a tomb.
John’s legacy lives on. His courage, even in the face of death, becomes a beacon of inspiration for those who value truth over popularity. The legacy of courage outlives the immediate consequences. It inspires others to stand firm.
Courage often means speaking truth to power, even if it makes you unpopular. The truth has its own power. Courage might make you a party-pooper, but sometimes parties need a reality check for the sake of righteousness. The consequences of courage might involve unexpected challenges and dilemmas. Be prepared to navigate them with integrity. Courage might lead to uncomfortable requests, but standing firm in your beliefs is worth it. Don’t compromise your values. Courage can have severe consequences, but some truths are worth sacrificing for. Choose your battles wisely. The legacy of courage outlives immediate consequences. Your courage today can inspire others tomorrow.