Going Deeper 07.09.2021

The 'Gospel' reading for Pentecost 7... Mark 6:14-29

King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some were saying, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”  For Herod himself had sent men who arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because Herod had married her. For John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him. But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and for the leaders of Galilee. When his daughter Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it.” And he solemnly swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What should I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the baptizer.” Immediately she rushed back to the king and requested, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was deeply grieved; yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he did not want to refuse her. Immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl. Then the girl gave it to her mother. When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

The relationship between those who proclaim the truth of the coming of the Kingdom of God and its implications to those people and structures which hold power has always been volatile.

This story of the violent death of John the Baptizer follows the sending of the disciples on a mission of proclaiming the coming of the Kingdom, which in turn follows Jesus' rejection in His hometown-- which in Luke's account turned violent.  The point: following Jesus and proclaiming the Kingdom can be dangerous, even deadly.  It cost John his life, would cost Jesus His life, and would cost the disciples their lives... in various ways.

Yes, some of us are sometimes called to speak truth to power... perhaps all of us are in some ways.  And doing so carries risk.  Yet we speak the truth.  This is the hard part of being witnesses.

But the Gospel most often is received well by those who are not in power, those who are hurting and struggling, those who feel beat down and worthless.  That is the 'soil' most receptive to the seed of the Gospel.  As Jesus said, He came to reach out to those who were 'sick' and knew it.  Those who saw themselves as 'well' perceive no significant need in themselves for grace.  

Hmmmmmm... I wonder how this all applies to how we 'speak' to ourselves?

Final food for thought (maybe a little random🤔).  I recently heard someone say that we ought to encourage people not to join churches which 'fit' them, but rather churches that change them.

In His Grace,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"