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Sunday, July 7

Matthew 14:1-12

Jesus Said Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus...

This summer, we'll seek to understand Jesus' life and teachings by reading through the gospel of Matthew, complementing the teaching team's focus in their “Jesus Said” series. One of the most profound truths of Christianity is that Jesus was and is God. In order to know God, we can look at Jesus, for, as Paul wrote in Colossians, Jesus is "the image of the invisible God."

Read Matthew 14:1-12

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus, and he said to his attendants, "This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him."

Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, for John had been saying to him: "It is not lawful for you to have her." Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of the people, because they considered John a prophet.

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." The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took his body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus.

Reflect

Herod's power leads him to commit a monstrous but cowardly act against John the Baptist, and then he sees the same spirit and message in Jesus that he'd known in John. Later still, we learn from the gospel of Luke, when told "Herod wants to kill you," Jesus calls him "a fox" but says he will press on regardless. And this same Herod mocks Jesus when he's is brought before Herod just before the crucifixion. What does all of this suggest about the contrast between the workings of power in the world and the power of God?

Respond

Pray for God to touch those who wield power in the world, to turn their power for his purposes. Be prepared to resist the power of the world and to rely on God's power instead.

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