Bible Study Lessons — Matthew 14:1-12
What would you give your niece or nephew for a birthday gift? Today, we’ll learn how Herod kills John the Baptist just because of pressure.
Herod thought of Jesus as John the Baptist resurrected because of his miracles and healing power.
He was afraid of harming the prophet because of the people.
So, why did Herod kill John?
A “Birthday Gift” for Herodias – Herod Kills John the Baptist
At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.
For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”
Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet.
But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod, so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.
Having been prompted by her mother, she *said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”
Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests.
He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.
And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.
His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus. – Matthew 14:1-12 NASB
Herod Kills John the Baptist – Who was Herod?
To introduce some background, Herod was the son of Herod the Great; yes, the same man who arranged the killing of all the male babies two years and under after he learned that Christ was born.
So, he was no stranger to violence. Herod was living with his half-brother’s wife, which prompted John the Baptist to rebuke him for immorality.
Why did Herod Kill the Prophet?
For lack of a better word, John was killed because of embarrassment and peer pressure.
Herod had made a promise to Herodias’ daughter in front of others and didn’t want to be thought of as a weak man, especially not a weak king, when it came time to deliver (John’s head).
A prophet had to die because of this unwillingness to break a promise made publicly.
Herod gave in to the crowd instead of doing what he knew was right.
Do We Give in to the Crowd?
Sometimes, we may find ourselves in a situation where it is wrong to go with the pressure.
We don’t always have the integrity to make the right decision at the cost of stepping outside our comfort zone.
We face these decisions almost daily, so let’s take a moment of pause before doing something we will later regret.
And remember, Jesus made a decision to face death for us, so a little embarrassment is a small pittance in comparison. Don’t you agree?
Love In Christ
If you would like to learn more about how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 for more information.