Mark 6:17-20

Mark 6:17-20

For Herod himself had given orders to arrest John and to chain him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias held a grudge against him and wanted to kill him. But she could not, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing he was a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard him he would be very perplexed, and yet he liked to listen to him. (Mark 6:17-20)

Herod was an evil yet pitiable figure. The interests of his soul are divided. He has an interest in religion and is both angry at John, yet likes to listen to him. His wife, Herodias, wants Herod to kill John to remove the threat to her queendom, but Herod keeps him safe in prison. Herod probably visits John to listen to him and John’s preaching sticks in the back of his mind, but he refuses to repent and release him. It’s all a messy drama, and messy dramas rarely end well.

Let’s note that sin creates drama. If sin were a creature it would have tentacles. It cannot be contained but reaches out into every area of life. Herod is a weak man when it comes to his sexuality. Adultery is weakness; it is a lack of self-control. Herod took his brother’s wife, who no doubt willingly left her husband to become queen. John called Herod to repent, which would require him to return Herodias to his brother. But Herod refuses to act and so remains immersed in the ongoing drama of sin and never emerges into the fresh new life God would offer him. He is a duplicitous man and is passive in the way he makes decisions. He has the power to repent but never does.

Repentance is hard, but it is also liberating. It lifts us up out of the entanglements created by sin. It breaks us free from the tentacles of sin and opens the way for us to receive new life. So consider the sin and intrigues of your own life. Is there some sin of which God is calling you to repent? Repent quickly. Consider how passive you have been concerning God’s call. If you know what to do, why do you still waver? Don’t ask for sin’s permission. Repent now and send sin packing.

Lord, deliver me from my weakness. Deliver me from the entanglements of sin. Show me where I must repent and give me the strength to dispel all sinful ways from my life. Deliver me from all the drama sin has created. Give me the gift of self-determination to send sin packing and self-control to keep sin from returning. Through repentance, draw me into the new and better life you have planned for me.

Mark 6:14-16