The murder of John the Baptist

So the story of John the Baptist getting his head chopped off – sometimes a story is just a story, yes? I did some research and my goodness people have had fun historically pointing fingers at Herod, at the young girl, at the mother, even at John himself for being prideful and unwary of the danger of speaking his mind. Well there is plenty of sin in the story, yes? And we ourselves should strive to do better, sure.

Do we really need that pointed out to us? Are you in any danger of being a cruel fox, a cowardly evil King? Are you in danger of making time with your brother’s wife? Do you need this story to warn you off? Are you such a vengeful wicked mother you will use your daughter’s young body and dance skill to eliminate your enemy?

We really don’t need those “lessons” –  that just isn’t the point of the story. I think the point of the story is: this happened. Someone like John got killed by a horrid rich powerful family’s evil ways.

For whatever reason, that’s the world we live in: no magic saves at the last minute. No daring rescues. Jesus didn’t stop the madness or change the fate of John. John the Baptist wasn’t able to do anything to prevent his cold-blooded murder.

This is the world they lived in.

It’s the world we live in.

Whatever John the Baptist was asking us to do by repenting; it didn’t magically change the world into butterflies and rainbows.

Whatever Jesus wants us to do – whatever it means to follow God – won’t prevent bad things from happening.

Sometimes we just have to sit with that knowledge and accept it. And love God, and follow Jesus, and repent and grieve and be still and weep and love, love, love anyway.

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