Monday, December 11, 2017

Matthew 14: Narrow-Minded John

What would today's culture make of John the Baptist?  Sadly, I think our world would view him as judgmental and hopelessly old-fashioned. 

Here was the basic problem that got him in trouble: King Herod had taken up with his sister-in-law.  Now, everyone else around Herod respected his power and - hoping to keep their heads firmly attached to their bodies - knew what was good for themselves.  They looked the other way when it came to this flagrant violation of the Old Testament Law.  Herod was probably pleased to find such a permissive attitude that allowed him to do what he wanted, what he might have defended as coming naturally to him. 

Only John dared to oppose him, standing in his way and telling him that what he was doing wasn't right.  John was trying to serve as the king's conscience, to wake up his morality and rouse his repentance that could lead him back to God.  He told the "emperor he had no clothes", for he didn't.  For this, John was thrown into prison and eventually killed by beheading. 

Couldn't John have just gone along to get along?  Couldn't he have compromised on the integrity and authority of God's Word?  After all, the stakes were so high.  Wouldn't the nice, loving, and affirming action be to simply bless Herod's union with Herodias and be done with it? 

But, because John was bigoted enough to refuse, choosing to obey some dusty old law rather than co-exist relevantly with Herod, he paid the price that he deserved.  Herod probably read John's story that way; so, too, would a large section of our culture today when it comes to the idea of moral and theological compromise with what people want to do sexually. 

John the Baptist's position of sticking with God's Word may not always be popular, it may not always be easy, it may not always carry the day - but it is always right.

No comments:

Post a Comment