This is part 7 of a multi-part series on the book of Mark.

Today, we’re in Mark 6:14-29.


King Herod heard as the word spread, which means it didn’t just spread among the poor but made it into the palaces. Jesus’ name had become known (6:14). Herod became afraid that John the Baptist had risen from the dead. Like anyone who watches horror movies, I’ll bet he began looking carefully around corners and had trouble sleeping at night.

Everyone was talking about Jesus. Is he John the Baptist reincarnate? Is he Elijah? Is he a new version of another one of the prophets of old? (6:15). Herod’s nightmares were caused by his blind arrogance that resulted from years of unchecked power. He began to think of himself way too highly and then slipped.

Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great, who is famous to the modern reader for attempting to kill Jesus as an infant to hold his power (Matthew 2:16). Upon Herod the Great’s death, his kingdom was divided into four regions to be ruled by his four sons. Herod Antipas was given Galilee and Perea, which he ruled from 4 BC – 39 AD.

Learning from his father, Herod Antipas maintained a lust for power himself. Those who love power often love to appear generous, but their generosity reflects an incredible arrogance and is often mixed with a deadly insecurity. Let’s see how this plays out.

John the Baptist

For his birthday, Antipas hosted a huge banquet for nobles and military commanders as well as the “important people” of Galilee (6:21). In typical fashion, he needed to prove to these important people just how big and generous he was. He foolishly offered up to half of his kingdom (undoubtedly after a few too many drinks) to his wife’s daughter who danced for the guests.

When her mother told her to request John the Baptist’s head, Herod Antipas could have humbled himself and backtracked his ludicrous offer, but his generosity would have been questioned. So, ignoring the sanctity of human life simply to appease the crowd, he had a man beheaded (6:27-28). He felt guilty to be sure (6:26), and his nightmares began.   

This is a story of unchecked power, of a domain that was given by God and was out of control. When we were created to have a domain, it was to be under the rule and reign of our King, who keeps our power in check as we submit to Him. He is the ONLY one worthy to have unbridled power and will never use it abusively.

The Corruptibility of Humans

There is no human on this planet who is incorruptible. We need to stop playing the cult of personality with leaders who take their popularity and power to their heads slowly over time and eventually become tyrants. This is why there was a council in Acts 15 instead of one apostle to made decisions for everyone.

None of us have all the gifts of the Spirit in ourselves. God has created us to need one another. Let us be humble, seek the wise counsel of others, and as B4T leaders submit ourselves to those around us who can speak into our lives. We cannot simply have mentors far away where we can hide information from those next door—we also need a check on our spirits nearby who can see everyday life for us.

Future Incorruptibility

One day we will no longer need accountability partners and mentors because we will finally be in the presence of the Ultimate Authority for all eternity. On that day, our generosity will no longer be mixed with insecurity that breeds arrogance, nor will we need to prove anything to anyone. We will serve for its own sake because our very nature will be transformed back into the original image of God we were given during creation.

Come Lord Jesus—bring that day quickly!

Greg is the President of OPEN USA. He used his education to work as a tentmaker in the Middle East for 8.5 years seeking to plant a church amongst a least-reached people group. Currently back in the USA with his wife and children, they aim to return to finish what the LORD used them to start.

To learn more about B4T, read Business for Transformation by Patrick Lai.

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