There have been many times in my life that I have been ashamed of my actions. I have fallen prey to the world instead of being faithful to my God. I have fallen captive to what others think and feel. I have met my match (at times) when I have been bogged down by my own choices.
John the Baptist was a strong supporter of Christ (and a relative). From early on (in the womb to be exact), John recognized Christ as the Messiah (Luke 1:41). John made it his mission to prepare the people for the coming of Christ. To his dying day he led the people to Christianity. He was magnetic even to the one who would order his execution.
Speaking of that dying day, John was martyred for his faith. King Herod had John held captive. Even though John pointed out Herod’s sinfulness (for instance marrying his own brother’s wife), Herod still was intrigued by John. John mesmerized Herod. There was something about John that Herod seemed to like.
Yet one day, Herod got caught up in what others thought and had John beheaded. (Read the passage from Mark 6:17-29). Herod knew this was not what he wanted, but decided it was what the people wanted. He went with the world. He chose pleasure.
We all do this. We choose the world over God. We choose the world over what is right. It is the easy way out. Yet this choice makes us a prisoner to the world.
Just make everyone happy.
Just succumb to what you know is wrong because it is easy.
Just do what everyone else would do.
Just fall in with the crowd. Don’t draw attention to yourself.
Just ignore what you know is right because it will cause chaos otherwise.
Everyday, I get to choose how to handle situations. I can choose to follow God, or I can choose to follow the world. I cannot do both.
John the Baptist chose to follow God. He was free.
Herod chose to follow the world. He was a captive.
What do you choose?
Reflection on the beheading of John the Baptist taken from Mark 6:17-29