“John (the Baptist) had said to Herod, ‘It is now lawful for you to have your brother’s wife’. Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so. Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody….Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, ‘Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.’ He even swore to her, ‘I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.’ She went out and said to her mother, ‘what shall I ask for?’ She replied, ‘the head of John the Baptist.’ The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request. ‘I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.’ The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oath and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her. So, he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head.” (Mark 6:18-20, 22-27)
The story of John the Baptist being beheaded for, basically, calling out sin and urging an individual to repent is something we can all learn from because we all have influence over someone in our life. John told King Herod that it was not lawful for him to be married to his brother’s wife, Herodias. John became the object of Herodias’ wrath and retaliation because of the truth he spoke.
The truth will not always win us friends, but we are obligated to urge others to repent and turn to God. Herodias allowed her resentment and anger to continue building against John. It appears she used her influence to cause Herod to keep John locked in prison, despite Herod knowing John was a righteous man. Additionally, she used her hatred toward John to cause her daughter to sin by requesting the execution of an innocent man.
We may not have the power that Herodias carried. However, we all have influence over someone in our life. You may be a supervisor, owner of a company, church leader, or society influencer. You may only carry influence over your children or spouse, but did you notice what Herodias did? Herodias not only caused her husband to sin by giving the order to execute an innocent man, but she caused her daughter to sin by requesting the death of John for purely selfish and resentful reasons.
As Christians, it is our obligation to not only repent when we sin, but it is also our responsibility to make every attempt to not allow our influence over others to cause them to sin. The way we live our life sets an example as to who, or what, is our primary focus in life. Herodias set the example for her daughter that retaliation, revenge, and abuse of power is more important than surrendering to God and forgiving others. Herod gave his daughter the example that pleasing others, public image, and reputation are more important than doing what is right. John the Baptist gave the example that truth and repentance of sin is more important than even your own life or making someone angry.
Who do you have influence over in your life? Who is paying attention to what you do and what is important to you? Is your life pointing others to the ways of the world or the ways of Christ?