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John the Baptist Died

May 27, 2008

I was reading to the kids last night from the book my Grandmother gave me and we came to the death of John the Baptist. After reading the story I asked my children what they thought about it.

Well, needless to say they couldn’t figure out what anyone could say that would get them beheaded. They didn’t think much of Herodias. I also asked them why they thought that Jesus didn’t save John the Baptist. I asked if they thought it was possible and they all agreed he could have.

Well the book often connects relevant stories so it also shared about John the Baptists doubts as he sat in his jail cell. It reminded me that Mathew records the arrest of John the Baptist in 4:12. In Matthew 11 we find John the Baptist trying to find out if Jesus is truly the Messiah. John the Baptist had been in prison for around 12 to 18 months. That is some time.

Did Jesus like John the Baptist? Was he a fan or a friend? John the Baptist is in prison for over a year and ends up without a head.

The kids and I discussed this and I asked them their thoughts. They decided that he had accomplished what he was here for so it must have been time to go home. I asked if they thought that since Jesus let him die He didn’t really like him. Of course that was a trick question since I had read what Jesus said about John the Baptist.

What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,

“‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’

Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Matthew 11:7-11

Among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than he. Pretty strong words of love and recognition and yet when John the Baptist’s followers came Jesus didn’t go and rescue him from his impending death. Jesus didn’t go and break him out or protect him or even guarantee that he never went to jail.

But don’t let the story stop there because Jesus goes on to say that the least in the kingdom is greater than he. We are greater than John the Baptist in the kingdom economy, what do we expect?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 27, 2008 12:58 pm

    Very true. Somehow we have brought into the thinking that life should be easy. Why? Persecutions will come.

  2. May 28, 2008 2:26 pm

    Great, great post. I find it interesting what Jesus sends a messenger to say to John the Baptist.

    Matthew 11:4-5 would’ve sounded a lot like Isaiah 61:1 (which John the Baptist, being a Jew, would’ve known well), except for one major difference. Jesus didn’t say that he would set the captives free.

    Pretty much like Jesus saying, “I’m the Messiah, and John, you’re going to stay in prison.”

    Take care, Darin.

  3. May 26, 2009 11:34 pm

    Jesus said to His disciples pick up your cross and follow me. A martyrs death must have very great rewards. Ours is a walk of faith and like Job who wanted to know why he was suffering so much when he was a righteous man, God never answered Job but when Job saw him face to face it did not matter any longer. Like Abraham we sometimes are asked to follow God not knowing where we are going. Lulu

  4. November 19, 2009 1:13 am

    Amen Lulu! I have often pondered why Jesus would allow John to stay in prison and not release him somehow. It seems as if He did not care that John was in prison. However after giving it some thought and asking for understanding, this is what I think. If Jesus was indeed who he said He was then it is likely He knew the fate of John. John like all of us was placed on this earth for a reason and specific purposes. John’s purpose was to pave the way for the coming Messiah, announce His coming, to ultimately baptize Jesus thus ending his ministry and beginning the ministry of Jesus. He was also charged to let the so-called religious leaders of the day know that God is aware of their empty hearts. After that John likely had nothing else to do but pass on, on the appointed day. He fulfilled his calling. Unfortunately he died in a terrible way. He was beheaded. In prison I’m sure his flesh weakened. Even Jesus grew weary and contemplated passing to cup but the God in him like the spirit in us did not allow Him to give up. I’m sure John has no regrets and I’m sure he has no animosity for His Lord Jesus because he is now in heavenly places experiencing joy unspeakable. Rodney

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