The Power of Fear
March 12, 2017 Series: The Drama of the Gospel: What It is and How It Changes Everything
Passage: Mark 6:14–6:30
The passage we are looking at this morning, Mark 6:14-30, must be one of the most sordid stories in the New Testament. But as we are going through the gospel of Mark, and Mark has told us from the outset what his narrative is all about, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1), we can ask what do we learn about the gospel and the nature and reality of the kingdom of God through this text? And we will do this from two vantage points. Tragedy and triumph. The tragedy of sin and triumph through suffering. Tragedy of sin is obvious enough. It revolves around the major characters of Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great and Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. When John the Baptist confronts them concerning their affair and breaking of the Mosaic Law, Herod proceeds to seize John, throw him in prison, and Herodias, biding her time, waits for the opportune moment, which comes at Herod’s birthday party to hatch a plan that will lead to the death of John the Baptist. But John’s death is certainly not pointless as it foreshadows the One who John was always pointing to, Jesus Christ.
The death of John the Baptist brings triumph through suffering. Especially as it points away from himself and toward Jesus. It was John who said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Jesus suffered and died what appeared to be a tragic death. He lost everything and then was raised from the dead so that death no longer gets the last word. Tragedy is never the last word. Tragedy is real, and painful, but because of Jesus it is never the final word. He must increase. May he increase in our lives.