At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus, And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him. For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife. For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. Matthew 14:1-5
So you want to be a prophet? Many people today and throughout time claimed to be a prophet of God, but be careful what you wish for. Throughout history it’s been well documented the true prophets of God faced intense persecution and usually death. This was the same fate for John the Baptist, as Jesus called him “The greatest of all prophets” (Matthew 11:11)
So why was John the Baptist imprisoned and killed? Because he was preaching the true gospel of Jesus Christ, everyone needs to Repent and become Born Again. Herod didn’t like this message of repentance, when John called out his immoral and invalid marriage he had with his brother’s wife. Most people don’t like to be called out on their sin, this is why Jesus and the Apostles and Prophets received heavy persecution and death.
It’s interesting that Herod believed Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead, which makes us understand Herod knew John was a Holy Man from God, but Herod loved his sin more than He loved God, so he killed the messenger of God. This is the same evil spirit and mentality most people have today. People love their sin more than they love God
But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask. And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger. And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her. And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother. And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus. Matthew 14:6-12
Now to show you how depraved Herod was , we see this bizarre birthday celebration where the “daughter of Herodias” who is also Herod’s step daughter, dances for him and pleases him to the point he will give her whatever she wants. Now we don’t have to go into detail that this is an immoral and depraved event. Now the girls mother, Herodias, uses this situation as a “power grab” to eliminate John the Baptist, because he has been calling her out on her sin and her conscience is probably pricked. The show Desperate Housewives has nothing on the Bible!
So Herod, knowing John the Baptist is a prophet of God, goes ahead and orders his execution anyway because Herod loves his sin and wants to please people more than fearing God. Many of John’s disciples or students must have witnesses all of these events and then went back and told Jesus what had happened
What can we learn from this story? The love of sin is greater than the love of God in most people. If you want to know why Jesus said we must be Born Again to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (John 3:3) just look at the depravity of the human heart and understand why we need to be reborn