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. 

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