Faithful John the Baptist Mark 6:14-29

Text: “For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.”

Mark 6:20.

Good morning, faithful and just Christian!  You are known as faithful, because of your faith in Christ Jesus, and at all times seeking to be obedient to His inspired Word and principles.

You are known as just, because - by God’s free and Sovereign grace alone - you have been justified (just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned) by the Crucifixion, Death, and resurrection from the dead of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living Lord God Jehovah. 

Praise God for faithful and justified Christians!  Glory to the Lamb Who was slain, but now lives FOREVER!  Hallelujah!  Amen.

J.C. Ryle Comments:

John the Baptist: 

“These verses describe the death of one of the most eminent saints of God. They relate the murder of John the Baptist. Of all the evangelists none tells this melancholy story so fully as St. Mark. Let us see what practical lessons the passage contains for our own souls.

“We see, in the first place, the amazing power of truth over the conscience. Herod “fears” John the Baptist while he lives, and is troubled about him after he dies. A friendless, solitary preacher, with no other weapon than God’s truth, disturbs and terrifies a king.

“Everybody has a conscience. Here lies the secret of a faithful minister’s power. This is the reason why Felix “trembled,” and Agrippa was “almost persuaded,” when Paul the prisoner spoke before them. God has not left Himself without witness in the hearts of unconverted people. Fallen and corrupt as man is, there are thoughts within him accusing or excusing, according as he lives, thoughts that will not be shut out, —thoughts that can make even kings, like Herod, restless and afraid.

“None ought to remember this so much as ministers and teachers. If they preach and teach Christ’s truth, they may rest assured that their work is not in vain. Children may seem inattentive in schools. Hearers may seem careless in congregations. But in both cases, there is often far more going on in the conscience than our eyes see. Seeds often spring up and bear fruit, when the sower, like John the Baptist, is dead or gone.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

“Let your light so shine before men, that they might see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

Note what happened when the evil king Herod heard about the Lord Jesus, and how He was travelling around the country healing the sick; preaching God’s truths; and casting out many devils from all He encountered.

“And king Herod heard of Him; (for His Name was spread abroad :) and he said, That John the Baptist was risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him.”  (V.14)

This vile king who had cruelly martyred the faithful and just John the Baptist, by having his executioner cut off John’s head – immediately, yet wrongfully, identified the Lord Jesus Christ as the resurrected John!  Even the unbelieving Herod had enough discernment to see that John, the servant of Christ, God’s messenger prophesied for thousands of years, closely resembled in spirit His Lord Who had come into “…His own country.” (Mark 6:1)

The same Spirit of Holiness pervaded both Christ and His messenger servant, John.  John possessed all the traits of Christlikeness, that every genuine Christian believer should manifest to the unbelieving world of sinners: John was both faithful to His Lord, and John was clearly justified by Christ, in the Holy sight of the Living Lord God Jehovah.

“Follow peace with all men, and HOLINESS, without which no man shall see the Lord.”  (Hebrews 12:14)

The faithful and just John the Baptist’s ministry was a clear fulfilment of long-time established Biblical prophecy, and John’s message from the Lord God Almighty was delivered by this Christian martyr.

“Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the Lord, Whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the messenger of the Covenant, Whom ye delight in: behold (look, and clearly understand) He shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.”  (Malachi 3:1) 

“In those days (New Testament days) came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.  For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.”  (Matthew 3:1-2)

J.C. Ryle Comments: “We see, in the third place, how boldly a faithful minister of God ought to rebuke sin. John the Baptist spoke plainly to Herod about the wickedness of his life. He did not excuse himself under the plea that it was impru­dent, or impolitic, or untimely, or useless to speak out. He did not say smooth things, and palliate the king’s ungodliness by using soft words to describe his offence. He told his royal hearer the plain truth, regardless of all consequences, — “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.”

Here is a pattern that all ministers ought to follow.” (J.C. Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels 1816-1900)

Thought: Christ’s ministers ought to be faithful and just to speak God’s truth!

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