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Matthew 14:1-12

Talks for Growing Christians

The Martyrdom of John the Baptist

Matthew 14:1-12

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Lesson Number 36

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Speaking out against sin is a responsibility of the believer.
  2. Speaking out against sin is costly for the believer.

Practical Application

  1. Go to the Lord when you’re bereaved.

Questions

  1. Who was Herod the tetrarch?
  2. When Jesus stood on trial before Herod, why would He not speak to him? (see Luke 23:9)
  3. Who was Herodias?
  4. Why did John the Baptist speak out against Herod?
  5. What did speaking out against sin cost John the Baptist?
  6. What did John the Baptist’s disciples do after he was beheaded?

Answers

  1. The Herod of Matthew 14 was Herod Antipas. He was a son of Herod the Great who put to death the babies in Bethlehem following Jesus’ birth. He was called Herod the tetrarch because he ruled over one-fourth of Palestine.
  2. Herod silenced the voice of God when he beheaded John. Jesus did not give him another chance to hear God’s voice.
  3. Herodias was the daughter of another son of Herod the Great. Philip, another of Herod the Great’s sons married his niece, and then his brother, Herod Antipas, seduced her away from him.
  4. Because of his incestuous relationship with his niece, Herodias. John had great boldness to speak out against such a powerful man.
  5. He was imprisoned for speaking out against Herod, and ultimately it cost him his life.
  6. They buried his body, then went to the Lord Jesus.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Believers are to speak out against sin. Discuss the example of John the Baptist. In Matthew 5:13, Jesus tells His disciples they are “the salt of the earth.” As salt is a preservative in food and prevents decay, so believers are to prevent the spread of moral decay around them. Are you a grain of salt in your workplace or neighborhood? Are you willing to speak out against the sexual sins around you? This is not a popular or politically-correct position, but it is right. When John the Baptist was in prison the Lord commended him for his outspoken stand and ministry. Will you be commended by the Lord for standing up for truth and speaking out against sin?
  2. Speaking out against sin in our culture probably will not cost you your life, but it may cost you something. Discuss situations where your faith has cost you. Commendation from the Lord is worth the cost!

Challenge

  1. Are you saddened by the death of a loved one? Do not allow bitterness to grow inside you. Go to the Lord when you are bereaved. He will comfort, strengthen, and encourage you.

Key Verses

  • “Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet.” Matthew 14:5
  • “So he sent and had John beheaded in prison.” Matthew 14:10

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