John The Baptist, Herodias and truth are definite sermon material, but too few preachers would dare speak the following, even though they claim to preach the full gospel and the uncompromised word. The need seems greater in our day than when the Holy Spirit led John to warn and rebuke remarriage adultery with the following:
For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him. (Mark 6:18-20)
Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” (Mat 14:3,4)
The truth that John the Baptist spoke came from his Godly hatred of sin and his love for souls. It was important for Herod and Herodias to know reality, as well as all others around who knew of their situation. John’s motives were pure and his words were the medicine needed for that spiritual ailment. IF only the people would receive the truth they needed, but the cost seemed too great.
God’s Truth Can Seriously HURT
John’s reward for faithfully preaching the word to the ungodly brought him a murderous hate from Herodias, just as Stephen’s preaching brought him the same (Acts 7:1-60). When powerful preaching occurs vicious hatred sometimes results. Conversely, when the sinful wisely receive the word and repent, as happened on the day of Pentecost with Peter’s sermon, it was preceded by hearing the vital but hurtful truth. People need TRUTH, even if it is disturbing. The people were cut to the heart (Acts 2:37) before they repented!
How could people hate another for speaking God’s truth, which can help them with their greatest need? They don’t hate medical doctors for telling them the truth about their serious physical conditions, but spiritually it happens too frequently and results because of the hurt inflicted by the sword of the Spirit and their blatant hatred of light and love for darkness. The sword of the Spirit is the living word of God and it can hurt the heart of the sinful like none other. Their reaction depends on the recipient’s free will to accept or reject the truth.
John the Baptist was a man who had great LOVE for the lost around him, though he is not usually noted for that. Unselfishly, he denied himself to help others spiritually by boldly and fearlessly speaking out truth, as he stood all alone at times! TRUTH is what the people on the road to hell needed most and that is what they got from John! Some must have thought John was crazy, some thought he was entertaining, but many could tell he spoke God’s word and wanted to be right with God.
“What Should We Do,” They Asked?
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay.” (Luke 3:10-14)
If John wasn’t the Godly man he was but was like the vast majority of preachers in our day, he might have spoken the following LIES and empty words in response to their question:
- You don’t have to do anything, Jesus will take care of it
- Give me your money and God will give you a hundred fold return
- Realize that God loves you no matter what you do
John spoke the truth, for THEIR SAKE – not his sake! He wasn’t trying to hurt and bother people, he was obeying God and helping deceived people, bound in sin, with their greatest need. John was walking in the Spirit as he feared God and loved souls.
Hatred From The Wicked (Herodias)
Herodias was one of the most wicked women in the bible (along with Bathsheba and Job’s wife)! Herodias was the Queen, as King Herod’s wife. She had power and luxury in that position. People respected and honored her because of him, but her marriage was a fraud. It was only a marriage in man’s eyes, which was adulterous, and John openly exposed it as such! The truth angered and hurt Herodias even though it was Herod, and not her, who was publicly rebuked! She wanted revenge and her seething hatred waited for the right time. She apparently thought repenting would cost her too much. Her sin appeared to be something she needed and she wasn’t going to change even for salvation! IF WE COULD SPEAK TO HERODIAS NOW, AND IF SHE WOULD TELL THE TRUTH, SHE WOULD ADMIT JOHN WAS HER BEST FRIEND AT THAT TIME, AS HE SPOKE GOD’S VITAL BUT DISTURBING TRUTH.
There is always a price to pay when you repent, but the benefits F-A-R outshine the pleasures of sin for a short time (Heb. 11:25), especially when you gain eternal life in exchange! There is no comparison. Jesus is the pearl of great price and hidden treasure in the field. There is no competition, except in the deceived minds of unrepentant and sinful people, like Herodias. When Herodias got John’s head on a platter, it didn’t change anything regarding her adultery! She remained an adulteress (Rom. 7:2,3), dead and lost! She didn’t conquer John.
Finally, the people who entered Paradise after their death because they first heard the truth from John the Baptist realized how valuable his stinging messages were. It was a spiritual slap and wake up call they needed for their own soul’s sake and John didn’t hesitate to give it to them! He was one of the greatest preachers of all time and John (not Mary) was the greatest born of women (Mt. 11:11)!