At that time Herod the ruler heard reports about Jesus; and he said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has been raised from the dead, and for this reason these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had arrested John, bound him, and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because John had been telling him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Though Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded him as a prophet. But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and she pleased Herod so much that he promised on oath to grant her whatever she might ask. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me the head of John the Baptist here on a platter.” The king was grieved, yet out of regard for his oaths and for the guests, he commanded it to be given; he sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus. Matthew 14:1-12
We live in a time of politics, a time of pushing and shoving, a time of dancing around and very little honesty. In pursuit of power, we can give in to thinking we can con people for the good of the whole. For great want of something, we will give in to deceit and manipulation. Caught in the middle of all of this are the innocent, the vulnerable and the poor. Good people are destroyed when the wealthy and powerful play games and dance around.
We are privy to a scene which has captured the imaginations of artists and writers throughout the generations. Herod is a powerful ruler but a weak man, who honors John and Jesus, but is easily manipulated by lust and deception. His pride outweighs his honor. He doesn't want to lose face in front of his guests. How often do we give loss our honor and respect when we give in to peer pressure, desires and shame. God invites us to see the consequences of our lust for power and control, and calls us to examine our hearts and motivation on a daily basis.
Today I ask God to help me examine all that I do. May our words and our actions reflect the love of God in our lives. May we live honorably, not swayed by fashion or power, but moved only by love and service.