Read: Mark 6:14-29

Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. (v. 20)

King Herod is generally regarded as one of the bad guys of the Bible. He was ruthless and self-centered, and he craved power. This was the man who massacred the baby boys in Bethlehem and executed members of his own family. Today’s story is just one more instance of Herod’s decadent nature. But today’s verses reveal that Herod also had a good side. Something about John the Baptist and his message fascinated him. Verse 20 says that Herod “feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man.” And although John’s words “greatly perplexed” Herod, “yet he heard him gladly.”

Herodias, the wife of King Herod, however, despised John. For years she had been trying to devise a way to get rid of this pest John. So when the opportunity presented itself through her daughter’s dancing, she seized it. And Herod carried out the dirty deed.

Herod is a mixture of both good and bad. When you think about it, we all are. But the problem with Herod is that he refused to do what was at the very heart of John’s message—repent. Yes, we all sin. But the difference is what you do about your sin. The message of the gospel is that when we repent of our sins and in faith turn to Christ, God forgives us and gives a new life that will never end. —John Koedyker

Prayer: Lord, when confronted with our sins, help us to repent and trust you for forgiveness. Amen.