On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
Matthew 14 : 6 – 8
It’s such a contrast, we’ve spend many chapter with Jesus as he preached about living a upright life. We’ve had lessons and parables about respecting God, honouring your neighbour, and doing what is right. But now we’ve been thrown into this murky world of court politics: where family members manipulate one another into grizzly political assassinations. In the New Testament the Herodian Royal family represents power at it’s most naked and ugly. To them the means always justified the ends of seeking power, nothing was beyond the pale. John the Baptist would soon become the casualty of a cruel political system where family feuds had violent consequences.
It can feel like Jesus and his disciples were living in another world, but that’s because they were serving a very different sort of King. By living faithfully to God they were showing people a different path: one that rejected the cruel Machiavellian politics of Herod’s court and instead was based on loving God and serving others. Jesus came to show another way. That when God is your King you will not pursue a life of power and greed, but instead will find joy in helping others and dedicate yourself to pursuing peace. A better way is possible.
Prayer: God of Justice, we pray for a world still marred by violence, corruption and greed. We remember the victims of political violence, from John to the present day. We pray for a better world, a world where justice flows like a river and where swords are beaten into ploughshares. May it be on Earth it is as in Heaven.
Action: What is an issue of justice that matters to you? Take some time to and pray about it, and if you feel prompted how could you do something to make a difference.