14 At that time Herod, the ruler of Galilee and Perea, heard reports about Jesus. 2 He said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist. He has risen from the dead! That is why he has the power to do miracles.” 3 Herod had arrested John. He had tied him up and put him in prison because of Herodias. She was the wife of Herod’s brother Philip. 4 John had been saying to Herod, “It is against the Law for you to have her.” 5 Herod wanted to kill John. But he was afraid of the people, because they thought John was a prophet. 6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for Herod and his guests. She pleased Herod very much. 7 So he promised with an oath to give her anything she asked for. 8 Her mother told her what to say. So the girl said to Herod, “Give me the head of John the Baptist on a big plate.” 9 The king was very upset. But he thought of his promise and his dinner guests. So he told one of his men to give her what she asked for. 10 Herod had John’s head cut off in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a big plate and given to the girl. She then carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Now here is a man who is dominated by fear.
He obviously fears punishment from God for what he has done, though sadly he did not fear God enough to listen to what John had said.
He is driven by fear of what others think: he has John arrested because of what Herodias thinks; he spares John because he is afraid of the people who think John is a prophet; but he has John killed out of fear of what his courtiers will think after making a foolish vow.
Though he is a king, he is ruled by fear of others. What a sad, sad man!
But then, there are times when I hesitate to speak up for God or for what is right out of fear for what others will think. Or times I do things to gain their acceptance. It may be milder, but perhaps I’m sometimes not that different from Herod. And fear will not make me any happier than it made him.
Father, your love and forgiveness drive out all fear (1 John 4:18). When I walk with you I can walk with confidence (Psalm 23:4). Give me eyes to see it and courage to walk it.
Written by David Cornell