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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Mark 091 - What to Ask For



She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. 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.”


Mark 6:24,25


No one likes to be manipulated. If some people are better at it than others, then Herodias must be ranked in the top ten of world-class manipulators.


It’s a bit of a stretch because there’s no direct evidence supporting it, but I wonder if Herodias didn’t maneuver people and circumstances to hold a birthday celebration for Herod. All the important men of the region were invited. It would have been an all-male affair. Notice that the girl had to “come in[1]” to dance


She got her daughter to dance in front of Herod and all those men – which is a big deal because no woman of noble birth danced in public. It was reserved for people on the bottom rung of the ladder of life: actors and dancers.


The girl was “Herodias daughter” from a prior marriage, so she wasn’t dancing for her father, but for her stepfather at a half-drunken stag party. There was no one at the party who she had any loyalty to. That was reserved for Herodias.


So, when Herod offers to give her up to half his kingdom as a reward for dancing, she does what she’s been programmed to do. She leaves the party and reports back to Herodias. After retelling everything that happened, she repeats Herod’s oath.


Now I’m not a betting man, but I’d be willing to bet the farm that at that moment Herodias smiled and thought, “I’ve got him now!” She was able to tell her daughter the words she’d been repeating and rehearsing for some time. To be able to condemn John the Baptizer to death.


The dutiful daughter returns to the party, running all the way, and asks for John’s head on a platter. And not sometime in the future, but right now. This sealed John’s fate. There was no room for maneuvering, no room for negotiation, no room for debate. His own words were the authority that led to John’s decapitation.


Herod was trapped and John was murdered by Herod’s own words. That happens to us too. Our words can either open doors of freedom or wall us in, becoming trapped by our own words. Jesus said that “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned[2].”


The late Frances Schaeffer had an illustration that points this out. Suppose everyone was given an invisible recording device at birth and it was hung around their neck. It would automatically turn itself on whenever someone made a judgement with words, thoughts, actions, or attitudes. It would also record whenever they gave advice or direction about how to live.


Now, when they died and appeared before God, God would merely tap the play button and judge them based on their own words. Everyone, and I mean everyone, would be condemned. There would be no place to hide. We all stand guilty based on our own words and expectations of others.


Herod was guilty, Herodias was guilty, the girl was guilty. We’re all guilty.


You may not like being listed alongside Herod, Herodias, and the dancing girl, but that’s where we are. That’s where we belong. That’s the company we keep. And no one else put us there. We put ourselves within their company. And there’s no way for us to get out of that line, to maneuver to another spot. We’re there, we’re stuck there now and for all eternity.


Only Jesus offers a way out from ourselves. And that comes at a steep price, starting with his death on the cross to pay for our guilt before God. The other part of that steep price is to turn ourselves over to him, giving him control of our lives. Purposefully releasing out rights and living with and for him.


So, my question to you is, what are you going to ask for? What you deserve? Or what you don’t deserve? I’ll take grace, forgiveness, being made a child of God any day of the week.

[1] Mark 6:22 [2] Matthew 12:37

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