Listening to the voices of the world
The Death of John the Baptist
King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, ‘John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.’ But others said, ‘It is Elijah.’ And others said, ‘It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.’ But when Herod heard of it, he said, ‘John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.’
For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, ‘It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.’ And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, ‘Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.’ And he solemnly swore to her, ‘Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘What should I ask for?’ She replied, ‘The head of John the baptizer.’ Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, ‘I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.’ The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Herod had hard time hearing that voice, the voice that points to God. And ultimately he followed the wrong voice and condemned John to death. But the voice of God would never let death have the final say, right? When the worst voices of the world choose to condemn --- remember they shouted, “crucify, crucify him” our God chooses more life. When the voices of this world choose death, our God chooses life. For the grave was not able to hold Jesus, for his voice rose on that glorious morning to new life. And he used his voice that Easter morning to remind the disciples that he had risen, and that he was going ahead of them to Galilee – for the work of ministry continues. Run and use your voice to tell the others what has happened.
So remember that my friends, in a sea of voice competing for our attention these days, choose the voices that lead to life, life in abundance, to grace, to wholeness, to healing, to forgiveness, to mercy, to justice. Because there are an awful lot of voices that lead to death, listen to the one that leads to life in abundance. Amen.