Read Matthew 14:1-12
The “Prison Letters” of Paul include those written by the apostle while in a Roman prison: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Over the past three weeks, we have read through those fascinating books. Now, over these next few days, we will look at three other New Testament examples of Christ followers who were tried and, ultimately, executed for their faith. Although they did not write from prison cells, words are recorded about their prison experiences.
John the Baptist is the first. Born to aged parents (Lk. 1), John’s 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 (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 what he was made no difference to John. John 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 mankind. To present Him accurately to others requires that you make the connection between His death and their sin.
“God, grant me opportunity today to help people understand why Jesus came!”