Read Matthew 14
The “Prison Letters” of Paul include those written by the apostle while in a Roman prison: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. In Matthew 14, though, we find another example of a Christ-follower who was tried and, ultimately, executed for his faith. Although he did not write from a prison cell, words are recorded about his prison experience.
John the Baptist was born to aged parents. (See Lk. 1.) Both his birth and his unique ministry had been announced before he was even conceived. He was to be the one who would prepare the way for the Christ. And, as he later launched his ministry, people traveled out to the wilderness to listen to him and to be baptized by him. His baptism served as a statement of repentance. He challenged men and women to turn from their sin in anticipation of the One who came after him – the One whose sandals John was not worthy to remove (Matt. 3). Though John was widely known and greatly used, he understood that his prominence and ministry was to be eclipsed by the Son of God. (See Jn. 3.)
As Jesus came on the scene, then, we read less and less about John. But his death is recorded. John, you see, had unashamedly spoken out against the sexual immorality of Herod the tetrarch. This Herod, descendant of Herod the Great, was the Roman ruler over the entire region of Galilee. But his official position made no difference to John, so he addressed Herod’s sin of taking his brother’s wife. His boldness in confronting that sin led not only to John’s arrest but ultimately to his horrible execution . . . a decision that would haunt Herod in the days that followed.
Is your understanding of God’s standards as clearly defined as it was to John? Are you able to boldly but appropriately help people to recognize their sin and turn to the Savior? Don’t forget that Jesus came to the earth because of the sin of all mankind. To present Him accurately to others requires that you make the connection between His death and their sin. To accept Him accurately for yourself requires that you make the connection between His death and your own sin.
“God, grant me opportunity today to help people understand why Jesus came even as I understand it for myself!”