by Bob Wickizer

What's Holding You Back?
Rev. Bob Wickizer
2 Samuel 6:1-5, 12b-19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29
5 Pentecost

Several times King Herod heard and enjoyed the preaching of John the Baptist but each time he heard John preach, he found himself utterly perplexed. Some time after the death of John, Herod hears reports about the preaching of another itinerant Jewish preacher named Jesus. His own superstition leads him to conclude that John the Baptist whom he had beheaded was raised from the dead and was coming after him.

Herod had much to fear. John the Baptist had publicly excoriated Herod for his wanton disregard for Jewish law in marrying his brother's wife. To understand this sordid marriage within the family business a little better, King Herod Antipas married Herodias, the wife of his half-brother, Philip. Herodias was also the daughter of another one of Herod's half-brothers, Aristobulus. This made Herodius Herod's niece as well as his sister in-law.

John the Baptist spoke out against this adulterous union provoking Herod to put him in prison and Herodias to plot revenge against the dishonor John heaped upon her. Just to clear up a few confusing names, another "Herod," Herod the Great ruled an enormous territory including Galilee and Judea at the time of Jesus' birth. You may recall that Herod the Great called for the slaughter of all the infants in an attempt to eliminate any future challenge to his kingly dynasty.

Out of sixteen wives and many children, one son of Herod the Great was named Antipas and was eventually allowed to rule Galilee and a region across the Jordan - a territory about a quarter the size of his father's. In an attempt to make himself look like the true heir to his father's kingdom, Antipas insisted on being called "Herod Antipas." His vanity also drove him to adopt the title of king even though he was technically a quartermaster or tetrarch in charge of a much smaller area.

These are importa ...

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