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Mark 087 - He Did It

For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

Mark 6:17,18

Sometimes we like to take responsibility for things we’ve done. There are times that we take credit for things that we only had a minor part to play. And then there are times when we take credit for things we had absolutely nothing to do with. We claim to have done something, been somewhere, witnessed something.

For my generation, there are countless millions who claimed to be at the original Woodstock concert in 1969. Actual attendance figures are more in the 400,000 range.

It’s not exclusively a guy thing, but I experience this more when I listen in when men speak than when women talk. Men seem like they are forever trying to “one-up” everyone else. Someone tells a story, then another tells a bigger story. It’s like who caught the biggest fish, who had the better experience, who’s car is faster.

Herod wasn’t immune to this either. He took credit for something he did, but it’s not something that I personally would brag about. He personally gave the order to have John the Baptizer arrested. But he didn’t do this in a vacuum.

After Herod married his brother’s wife, Herodias, John the Baptizer started to publicly criticize them. And this wasn’t just a single Tweet or post, John had continuously and actively been saying that it was wrong to marry Herodias.

Since God made us, and came up with marriage, he thinks that there’s a best way to live. In his mind, there are not many ways to think about marriage. There are nor many ways to think about partnership. There are not many ways to think about sexual intimacy. And when we’re not in alignment with who he is, what he has said, he labels that as sin, and us as sinners.

You may be thinking, “Herod, what a lousy excuse for a human being. What was wrong with him? Ain’t no way that I’d ever do anything like that.”

And in one way, you’re probably right. Very few of us are going to marry our brother’s wife, or sister’s husband. According to one source, less than 2%[1] of the population has an incestuous relationship that includes intercourse.

But, we’re just as guilty, if not more so, because of our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes. As one writer put it:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 3:23

When we sin, we have failed. Failed to hit the mark. Failed to hit the bullseye. Failed to hit the target. But this is not a single miss, all we can do is miss. All we can do is to speak, think, and act against the way God made us. To turn against God’s best and settle for some cheap imitation. And more than just our actions, our attitudes towards God and people also stinks.

And when we fall short, it’s not like we come in fourth place, or even second. We’re left behind, failing to finish the race. We lack the power, desire, and ability to live how God designed us for. We stop somewhere far from the end, pulling off to the side, collapsing.

God’s glory is the visible effect and evidence of his person, his reality, his being with us. It mostly is demonstrated or shown to us through light. Light that illuminates. Lights up our life and surroundings.

So, that’s where we are. We’re incapable of fixing our problems. We can’t pay the price for what we’ve done. We are all spiritual beggars; full of guilt, shame, and debt.

We’re in exactly the same boat as Herod. We may not be in an incestuous relationship; we haven’t married our brother’s wife. But we’re just as guilty.

And that’s where Jesus comes in! God with us. He’s experienced everything we have but with one big exception. He never sinned[2]. He’s God come down to pay the price, pay off our debt, restore us to himself in Jesus.

This is why Jesus came. For Herod. For me. For you.

[1] The Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science, Charles Nemeroff, Edward Craighead, 2001 [2] Hebrews 4:15


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