At that time Herod the tetrarch heard reports about Jesus, and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist. He has been raised from the dead! And because of this, miraculous powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had repeatedly told him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although Herod wanted to kill John, he feared the crowd because they accepted John as a prophet. But on Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Instructed by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” Although it grieved the king, because of his oath and the dinner guests he commanded it to be given. So he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother. Then John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it and went and told Jesus.
Now when Jesus heard this he went away from there privately in a boat to an isolated place. But when the crowd heard about it, they followed him on foot from the towns. As he got out he saw the large crowd, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
The Scriptures quoted are from the NET Bible® http://netbible.com copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved.
COMMENT & QUESTIONS
In today’s reading, John the Baptiser (the cousin of Jesus) is killed. We were told earlier that he was in prison (Matthew 11:2). This is the beginning of the public pressure on the mission of Jesus. This is the second real contention between the kingdoms of the world and the Kingdom of God (Cf. Matt 2:1-16). Jesus went away privately to grieve this loss. What does this say about the character of Jesus?
It shows us the real humanity of Jesus. Jesus wept and grieved like the rest of us. In instances like John 11:36, the crowd could visibly see the compassion and love that Jesus had for others. We truly have a high priest who can sympathise with all our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15).
Pray for those who are persecuted for their faith by governments around the world