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Oct 31, 2021

The King, the Queen, the Princess and the Prophet

The King, the Queen, the Princess and the Prophet

Passage: Matthew 14:1-12

Speaker: Pastor Stephen Palm

Series: Matthew: The King and His Kingdom

Category: Expository Book Study

In the final verses of Matthew chapter 13, we saw the people of his hometown reject him for the second time. Stepping into chapter 14, we see a rejection of Christ and his servants on a national level. Despite the personal and public opposition against Jesus and his ministry. His fame is spreading throughout the region of Galilee this causes the tyrannical ruler Herod the tetrarch to take notice. Due to his immoral living and growing paranoia, he believes that John the Baptist has been raised from the dead (v. 2). Beginning in verse 3 we are given a flashback by Matthew to the imprisonment of John. Aside from being the forerunner to the Messiah, John the Baptist was a lightning rod of a preacher calling the nation of Israel to repentance. This led John to set his sights on the nation’s leaders. He publicly and boldly dressed Herod down for his unlawful marriage to his brother’s wife (v.4). For that reason, Herod wanted to kill John, but he was fearful of what that might do to his political career. How would the people of Galilee respond if he killed one of their prophets (v. 5)? So, he did the next best thing, he threw the Baptizer in prison to silence him. In today’s culture there is a growing trend to muzzle the Christian message on all fronts, but we must stand fast in our convictions even if it means sacrificing our own comfort for the sake of the gospel. Herod isn’t the only one who wants to harm John. Mark’s gospel tells us that his ill-gotten wife Herodias has a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe (Mk. 6:19-20). But this would only last so long. Herodias knew her husband’s weaknesses. During his birthday and more than likely under the influence of alcohol his stepdaughter Salome seductively dances for Herod and his guests (v.6). Pleased with what he has just seen he makes a rash oath to give the stepdaughter whatever she wants (v.7). Under the direction of her mother, she requests John the Baptist’s head on platter (v.8). Bound by his oath Herod must deliver. So, John is beheaded and one of the most grotesque scenes in all of Scripture is before us. A celebration of sin, as the dish with John’s head is passed from the daughter to the mother (v.11). With Herod’s careless words we are reminded why Jesus warns us against rash vows and oaths. Let your yes be yes and your no be no (Matt. 5:33-37). The death of John saddens us, but the reality is the last three chapters of Matthew’s gospel have taught us that the King and his people are not welcome in this world.