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Thursday, March 17, 2011

“Is It Worth Losing Your Head Over?”

“King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known. Some were saying , “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.” Others said, “He is Elijah.” And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.” But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
Mark 6:14-16

It is evident from this passage of scripture that King Herod was very conflicted over his role in John the Baptist’s death. It was Herod that had John arrested and put in prison. John had been telling Herod that it was unlawful for him to be married to Herodias. Herodias had been married to Herod’s brother Philip. It appears that on a regular basis John took the opportunity to remind Herod of his reprehensible behavior.

This infuriated Herodias. She began nursing a grudge against John and wanted to have him killed, however Herod feared John and protected him. Finally, the scripture tells us that the opportune time came:

“Finally the opportune time came. On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. When the daughter of Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.”

Mark 6:21-22

Herod was so taken with her that he said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you.” And he promised her with an oath, “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” Immediately she went out and found her mother. She asked Herodias, “What shall I ask for?” Herodias told her to ask for the head of John the Baptist:

“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 6:25

The King was greatly distraught by the request. He did not want to execute John, but also did not want to lose face because of the oath he gave in front of his dinner guests. So he gave the order and John was beheaded.

Ultimately John lost his head over something he believed in. John had favor with the king. It is apparent that Herod enjoyed listening to him, but losing favor with the king never kept John from sharing the truth with him. Later when John was bound and imprisoned, he could have let the matter go. He could have said, “Well, I’ve done all I can,” but instead he continued to stand for what was right. Even with his head on the chopping block he could have recanted and apologized for his brazenness, but instead he held to his principles even unto death.

What about you? Are you that passionate about God’s Word? Maintaining your purity? Upholding righteousness? There will always be opportunities to abandon what you believe in…the question is “Is there anything you believe in that is worth losing your head over?”

Pastor Scott Burr http://faithandworshipseries.blogspot.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Sore Amazed

(part 2)

“When evening came the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. About the fourth watch of the night he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed in the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed.”
Mark 6:47-51

Out on the lake, the disciples found themselves hungry, wet, scared, exhausted and totally overwhelmed. They were once again in an impossible situation. I am certain that they had employed every “natural” means of saving themselves that they could feasibly maneuver, but the situation only worsened. It was at that moment that Jesus comes passing by!

It is evident from the text that not one of them expected to see Jesus. If fact, they were terrified when they saw Him:

“But when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, because they all saw him and were terrified.”
Mark 6:49-50

Their amazement at seeing Jesus show up, in the midst of their impossible situation, demonstrated that they were entirely more sensitive to the “natural world and it’s limitations” than they were to a supernatural move of God. Their thoughts were consumed with their situation and how to save themselves. However, they were only considering the “natural ways” of deliverance.

Like with the fish and the loaves, Jesus wanted them to stop being “dominated” by their natural thinking. The hardness of their hearts was caused from being more sensitive , set or influenced by natural thinking than by God’s Word. Remember, whose idea was it for them to get in the boat. Jesus constrained them to get in the boat and head back for Bethsaida. Again, He had put them in the middle of an impossible situation.

However, somewhere along the way they failed to remember that they were in the middle of God’s will. Like many of us, they assumed that “surely” anything God asks us to do is going to end up well and I am sure it did at the first. I would venture to say that the topic of discussion for the first mile or so was the miracle on the mountain, but as the wind and the waves began to beat against them their focus began to shift towards the precarious situation unfolding around them. After several more hours of fighting the wind and the waves…their hearts began to fill with fear and doubt. They had exhausted all their options.

They had failed to learn the lesson on the mountain! God has answers for impossible situations. They were prepared for many things as they started rowing across the sea of Galilee that day, except for God to answer their need supernaturally. Many of you may be facing impossible situations right now in your life. I want to encourage you not to get so wrapped up in trying to find a natural solution that you miss “Jesus passing by!”

Pastor Scott Burr http://faithandworshipseries.blogspot.com