Journey Through Matthew: The Ultimate Disrespect
Alright, good evening everyone.
If you would start turning in your Bibles to .
Tonight we are going to push forward a bit in our narrative here and we are going to be talking more about respect and disrespect.
This morning we talked about the dishonor that Jesus was suffering at the hands of his own community and his own family.
How they had refused to believe and how this refusal was leading them down a path of hopeless and faithlessness.
And one of the key reasons that they had lost hope and lost faith was really tied to their making excuses and trying to cover up and squash the convicting power of the Holy Spirit.
They didn’t believe, not because it was impossible to believe, but rather because they just didn’t want to believe.
They fundamentally refused to believe.
Because if they did, then they would have had to accept that they were wrong and that they needed to do something about their sin.
And tonight’s message is really no different than that.
It is different people but the same old thing.
People being convicted of their sin and people making a choice to refuse to repent of their sin.
But this time it is the King and his family.
And it is not Jesus who is being DIRECTLY disrespected but Jesus being disrespected through the ultimate disrespect of John the Baptist.
So, if you have found , ’d invite you to stand with me as we read.
Matthew writes, starting in verse 1 . . .
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet. 6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” 9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
Herod’s Amazement of Jesus (vs 1-2)
Herod’s Amazement of Jesus (vs 1-2)
So, we see here first thing that we are dealing with King Herod and his wife Herodius, and her daughter Salome.
Now, we have to get our history in order first though.
This isn’t Herod the Great, who had all the babies killed in attempts to kill Jesus.
This is his son Herod Antipas.
And this Herod actually ruled until 39AD.
And consequently, what led to his downfall was this marriage to his sister-in-law (and niece).
Because Herod had been married to the daughter of King Aretes IV of Petra and he divorced her to marry Herodious, who was the wife of his brother Philip and also the daughter of his brother Aristobulus.
King Aretes was offended by Herod divorcing his daughter, and started a war with Rome over it and Herod was eventually killed.
So, this whole drama is sort of like Days of Our Lives on steroids.
But even as messed up this family was Herod was still somewhat amazed and puzzled by Jesus.
Matthew writes . . .
1 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, 2 and he said to his attendants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
Now, for a very detailed account of this story you can also look at .
Mark gives a bit more detail and he writes . . .
14 King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.” 16 But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
Now Herod did not believe or have an understanding of resurrection like we do or like any Christian does for that matter.
What Herod is relying on is some old Roman superstition rooted in ghost stories.
Herod was always amazed at the boldness and the power of John the Baptist.
And in some strange ways, Herod actually had a level of respect for John.
He knew that John was a man of God.
He knew that John spoke the truth.
He was just not willing to give in to the truth.
Instead of giving in to the truth, Herod instead ran from the truth.
He tried to cover it up, hide it under a rug, shut it up.
I can imagine that the conviction that Herod was under very pretty intense.
So intense that it drove everything that he did from that point forward.
But since the message of Jesus an the message of John were so similar.
And the things Jesus was doing compared to the things that John had did were so similar.
Herod concluded that Jesus was John raised from the dead to come back and haunt him for his sins.
But, just what was Herod’s sin?
Herod’s Sin and Conviction (vs 3-5)
Herod’s Sin and Conviction (vs 3-5)
Matthew writes this . . .
3 Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, 4 for John had been saying to him: “It is not lawful for you to have her.” 5 Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered him a prophet.
Now, Mark adds a bit more to the story here as well . . .
17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 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.
So, we see here there is more to it than just Herod being under conviction.
It is not only Herod but also Herodious.
The difference though is that if she had a chance she was going to kill John.
However, Herod had a bit more sense than to do that.
First, Herod understood that the people had a great deal of respect for John and if he just up and killed him, than there would probably be an uprising, which could ultimately have led to Herod’s death.
The second thing though is Herod himself feared John.
And he feared John because he knew John was a man of God.
And even Herod knew that you didn’t go against the God of Israel.
He knew that you lost every single time.
So, he wasn’t going to kill him.
The third thing is that Herod respected John and liked to listen to John speak.
He knew that John spoke the truth and he was so used to people just saying what they thought Herod wanted to hear, that it was refreshing to hear someone actually speak the truth for a change.
And that truth was that John was calling him out for being married to his sister-in-law and niece.
Now, people can say what they want about the difference in times and cultures, but it was just as wrong then as it is now to marry your niece.
If Philip had been dead, there would have been nothing wrong with Herod being married to Herodious, but the problem was that she was his blood relative.
The daughter of his other brother, which also means that Philip was a pervert for marrying her to begin with.
They were an entire family who was overcome by sin.
And someone comes along and calls them out on their sin and they reacted the same way we would.
Some will consider what they are being told and some will change their ways.
Others will do whatever it takes to cover that sin up and to shut that conviction up.
Herodious wanted to shut the conviction up.
Herod, however, was caught somewhere in the middle.
He was hearing his wife and he was definitely not liking the conviction he was feeling.
But he also had enough fear of God that he wasn’t going to kill John right out.
So, he tries to sort of ride the fence a little here.
Herod’s Attempt To Cover Sin (vs 6-12)
Herod’s Attempt To Cover Sin (vs 6-12)
At first, he has John locked up in prison.
Sort of “out of sight, out of mind” kind of attitude.
John was alive, so the people held on to the hope that he may be freed someday and they didn’t risk revolt.
John was removed from Herod’s presence and had no audience to preach to, so he could push that conviction to the back of his mind.
And his hope was that it would calm Herodious down a bit and she would be satisfied with John being in prison.
However, it didn’t work out that way.
Herodious was so overcome with her sin that she could not let it go.
Remember, Mark tells us that . . . .
19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to,
She was nursing a grudge against him.
And she fell victim to what many of us fall victim to when we let things fester up and we dwell on them.
When we “nurse grudges.”
They grow bigger and bigger and sooner or later lead us down a path that we don’t want to go.
Her’s led down a path of murder.
Mark writes . . .
21 Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” 23 And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” 24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. 25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
And in our text . . .
6 On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for them and pleased Herod so much 7 that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. 8 Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
So Herod initially had no intentions on killing John.
He was content with keeping him locked up in prison.
But his wife had let that sin fester to the point that it was now boiling over.
The conviction was so bad that she had to do something about it.
And Herod’s birthday was the perfect opportunity.
And at the party, Herodious’ 12-14 year old daughter Salome came in and danced for the king.
And he was so impressed by her dancing, he offered her whatever she wanted and she went and asked her mother.
Who of course jumped at the opportunity....The head of John the Baptist on a platter.
So, the girl returns . . .
9 The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted 10 and had John beheaded in the prison. 11 His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. 12 John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.
And Mark . . .
24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. 25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother. 29 On hearing of this, John’s disciples came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
Now, Herodious is not the only guilty party here.
Herod could have said no.
He could have stopped her.
But he didn’t.
The Bible says that he didn’t want to be embarrassed in front of his guests.
Meaning he didn’t want to look weak in front of him.
But this was also an opportunity for him to rid himself of that conviction and also push the blame for it onto someone else.
So he agrees to it.
He is a willing participant and just as guilty.
But guess what?
The conviction did not go away.
It just grew stronger.
Because immediately when Herod hears about Jesus he is reminded of John the Baptist.
Reminded so much that he thinks John has returned to haunt him for his ultimate act of disrespect toward John.
And this conviction followed him the rest of his life.
Even when he participated with Pilate in the trial and execution of Jesus.
His sin and unwillingness to repent had taken him to the point of destruction.
And eventually led to his own death at the hands of a rival king.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
All he would have had to do is turn to Jesus, but he refused.
All we have to do is turn to Jesus, but still we refuse.
We hold on to sin.
We hold on to grudges.
We hold on to all those things that lead to death.
Unwilling to give them up.
All of us here tonight know the truth.
All of us here tonight, know if the Holy Spirit is convicting us of any thing.
If He is, I would encourage you to come and place it on the altar of God.
What do you have to lose?