Monday, June 18, 2018


Today we are going to look at Salome, the mother of James and John, the Zebedees.  James and John were two of the twelve disciples of Jesus, and we learn through this study that Salome helped take care of them and Jesus asd He ministered to the people in the Galilean region.  John is the disciple that wrote the gospel of John and the book of the Revelation. 

Salome appears in the Scripture in Matthew and Mark.  We are going to look deeply into her story in Matthew, and we will briefly glance at her appearance in Mark. 

Read through Matthew 20:17-28. 

Matthew 20:17-28 
As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up.” 

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left.” But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to Him, “We are able.” He said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and oMy left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” 

And hearing this, the ten became indignant with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” 
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation 

At the beginning of this section of Scripture, Jesus is preparing His disciples for His death, burial, and resurrection.  Salome clearly knows Jesus.  She has been with Him for a lot of His ministry on Earth.  She has cared for Him, cooked for Him, cleaned for Him, and did all of those other things that mothers naturally do for people.  She has heard His teaching.  She has witnessed His miracles.  She truly believes that Jesus has come to set up His kingdom on Earth. 

Back in Matthew 19:28, Jesus told the disciples that they will sit on twelve thrones with Jesus, as He sits on His glorious throne.  Salome heard Jesus say that, and as a mother, she was ecstatic that her boys would get to sit on glorious thrones with Jesus Christ. 

As human nature shows its face, Salome asks Jesus if her boys' thrones could be the ones directly to Jesus' left and right.  She already heard that they were getting their own thrones.  But, she wanted the best thrones for them - the thrones closest to the King, the thrones that would elevate her sons above everyone else.  Salome was thinking that Jesus was going to have an earthly kingdom, and this kingdom had to be soon.  She was getting ready for the near future. 

Come on, mommas.  Don't we all want the very best for our own children?  Don't we want our children to be recognized and honored?  Of course we do.  Salome was thinking what all mothers tend to think.  She acted on what a lot of mothers would act on.  She was as human as they come, doing for her children what she thought was best. 

Jesus uses Salome's request to teach us all a very valuable lesson in leadership and servanthood.  He does not shut Salome down.  He does not criticize her for asking such a selfish question.  Instead, He teaches.  He starts off by telling her that her request is far more than what she thinks it is.  Jesus asks James and John if they are willing and able to bear the cup that is to come.  The disciples immediately answer, yes, of course!  But, they have no idea what Jesus' future is, and what their future is.  Jesus' future is to be tortured and crucified, not to go to Jerusalem and sit on a glorious throne to rule the Earth.  But they still do not understand. 

Jesus responds that the disciples will indeed drink of His cup that is to come.  And sure enough, they do.  In Acts 12:2, we learn that James was put to death by the sword.  In Revelation 1:9, we learn that John was sentenced to exile on the island of Patmos.  They both ended up facing torture and death, just as Jesus did.  But, that is still not what they were expecting in this conversation.   

As for who will sit on which throne, Jesus told them that is not His decision, but God the Father's.  And, just as Jesus said in Matthew 19, the twelve disciples are sitting on thrones in heaven.  Who is sitting where?  I guess we will just have to wait until we get to heaven to see for ourselves (come quickly, Lord Jesus!). 

But, Jesus did not leave it at that.  He taught us all a valuable lesson about leadership and servanthood in the next few verses.  Jesus shared with them that traditional rulers were just that.  They were rulers.  They commanded, and others had to listen and obey.  But, if we want to truly be great leaders, we must humble ourselves and become servants.  We must be willing to do and serve, not just rule and dictate. 

In verse 27, I see the words "just as."  This indicates a comparison.  Jesus wants us to be like Him in all we do.  Here is another clear example.  Leaders must be servants, just as Jesus was a servant to His disciples. 

If Salome had not asked her question, wanting to make sure her sons got what she thought they deserved, we would not have received this beautiful lesson on being a servant from Jesus. 

In Mark 15:40-41, we see that Salome was a witness to Jesus' death on the cross.  In Mark 16:1-8, we see that Salome was one of the women who prepared spices to put on Jesus' dead body in the tomb.  Salome was a faithful servant of Jesus.  She helped take care of Him during His time on Earth.  She watched Him die.  She was going to anoint His dead body.  She was one of the first to see the angel at the empty tomb. 

Salome helps us remember our place as mothers, leaders, and servants.  We need to provide the love, safety, security, and belief that our children need.  We must meet the needs of our children.  But, we must also remember that in order to be great (in God's eyes and in the eyes of those around us) we must be humble servants.  Not those that do things for recognition, but those that do things to serve! 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Herodias, the Wife of Herod

Herodias was an evil, evil woman.  Of course, being married to Herod just added to her evilness.  This is one of those women that we study, knowing that she is an example of how not to behave. 

This story is divided into four sections: 
  1. 1. John the Baptist came preparing the way for Jesus.  He was teaching repentance of sin. 
  2. 2.  Herod got angry at John for calling him out about his and his family's sin.  Herod imprisoned John the Baptist. 
  3. 3. Herod had a party, and at the request of his wife Herodias, he had John the Baptist beheaded. 
  4. 4. Jesus' ministry was such that Herod thought that John the Baptist had come back to life. 

Section 1: 

Luke 3:1-18 
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. And he came into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, 

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight. Every ravine will be filled, And every mountain and hill will be brought low; The crooked will become straight, And the rough roads smooth; And all flesh will see the salvation of God.’” 

So he began saying to the crowds who were going out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father,’ for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.  Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” 

And the crowds were questioning him, saying, “Then what shall we do?”  And he would answer and say to them, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none; and he who has food is to do likewise.” And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”  And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.”  Some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.” 

Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he was the Christ, John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.  His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” 

So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people. 

I love when God uses the Scripture to set the exact place in time that the event happened.  That is what He did at the beginning of the passage.  People can trace the history of this event to when it happened.  This is just another way that God shows us His Word is true. 

John the Baptist's message was simple: repent, and bear fruit keeping with repentance.  How will you know if people around you are truly saved? You will know because of the fruit that they show.  My actions should show that I am a Christian.   

Section 2: 

John's message was a widespread message, but some exhortations were given specifically to Herod and his family. 

Matthew 14:3-5 
For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet. 

Mark 6:17-20 
For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him. 

Herod feared the crowd.  He was also afraid of John.  Herod used to enjoy listening to John's message of repentance.  But, Herod's family was so sinful that he could not get away from the sin.  Be careful about spending time with habitual sinners.  You will begin to find it easier to sin. 

The result of John the Baptist's exhortations to Herod and his family are shown in Luke 3:19-20. 

But when Herod the tetrarch was reprimanded by him because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the wicked things which Herod had done,  Herod also added this to them all: he locked John up in prison. 

Section 3: 

Matthew 14:6-7 
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 

Mark 6:21-23 
A strategic day came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his lords and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee; and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you want and I will give it to you.” And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask of me, I will give it to you; up to half of my kingdom.” 

This is a culmination of sin.  Herod has his daughter dance for him and all the military commanders and leaders.  I am sure that there was alcohol involved in this situation, and I am sure that Herod's daughter was not dancing the waltz.  Herod was so pleased by what he saw from his daughter that he was willing to give her anything she wanted. 

Matthew 14:8 
Having been prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 

Mark 6:24-25 
And she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” Immediately she came in a hurry to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 

Herodias, the wife of Herod, is the one who asked for John the Baptist to be beheaded.  There is so much evil in these few verses.  First of all, Herodias' daughter gets offered a large prize.  Instead of celebrating her daughter, Herodias uses the prize to get what she wants.  Second of all, Herodias wanted revenge for her sin being called out by John the Baptist.  She thought that she could kill John the Baptist and take away the person that called her sin out.  She thought that she could continue to live in sin, with no consequence. 

Hebrews 10:30 
For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 

Deuteronomy 32:35-36 
‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’ For the Lord will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free. 

Mark 6:26-28 
And although the king was very sorry, yet because of his oaths and because of his dinner guests, he was unwilling to refuse her. Immediately the king sent an executioner and commanded him to bring back his head. And he went and had him beheaded in the prison, and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 

Herodias may have gotten her vindication in the moment, but the Lord will get His vindication for all of time. 

Section 4: 

Mark 6:12-16 
They went out and preached that men should repent.  And they were casting out many demons and were anointing with oil many sick people and healing them. 
And King Herod heard of it, for His name had become well known; and people were saying, “John the Baptist has risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are at work in Him.” But others were saying, “He is Elijah.” And others were saying, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he kept saying, “John, whom I beheaded, has risen!” 
"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." 

John the Baptist came to pave the way for Jesus.  Once Jesus started His ministry, He became very well known.  Herod hear of Jesus through word of mouth, but Herod thought that Jesus was John the Baptist, whom he had killed.   

And of course, we know that Herod played a part in the crucifixion of Jesus.  You can read that for yourself in Luke 23:1-25. 

As I said in the beginning, we are not studying about Herodias to become like her.  Instead, we are studying about her to see how not to act.  We have to surround ourselves with people that demonstrate fruit of repentance.  We have to be careful to not surround ourselves with people who live habitually in sin.  We will end up sinning more and more, and finding it easier to accept sin.  Herodias was that person.  She thought she was above the vengeance of God.  She thought that she could kill John the Baptist to get rid of the person that called out her sin, instead of dealing with her sin.  She was selfish, and used her daughter in such a way that caused even more sin.  Oh sisters, let's not be like Herodias.  Let us surround ourselves with people who strive to do the right thing, who show the fruit of repentance in their lives.