The Gospel of Mark Chapter 6, v. 6 (don't forget the Reading Tips in the right panel)
Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Disciples
Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. 7 And he called his twelve disciples together and began sending them out two by two, giving them authority to cast out evil spirits. 8 He told them to take nothing for their journey except a walking stick—no food, no traveler’s bag, no money. 9 He allowed them to wear sandals but not to take a change of clothes.
10 “Wherever you go,” he said, “stay in the same house until you leave town. 11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate.” 12 So the disciples went out, telling everyone they met to repent of their sins and turn to God. 13 And they cast out many demons and healed many sick people, anointing them with olive oil.
The Death of John the Baptist
14 Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” 15 Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.” 16 When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.” 17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, 20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.
21 Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. 22 Then his daughter, also named Herodias, came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” 23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!” 24 She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?” Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!” 25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!” 26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, 28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.
About today's contributor . . . Jasmin grew up New Jersey and is a college professor.
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Herodias, the wife of Herod, seemed to be a strategic person, which isn’t always so terrible, and actually impressive. She was a person who read the situation and understood the players. She knew she couldn't get what she wanted from her husband (to have John the Baptist killed), but Herodias knew who and how to influence her daughter for her own desire. As I read the passage, I wondered why Herodias so desperately sought to have John the Baptist killed. He obviously hit a huge nerve, but was already in jail! Herodias’ obsession about her arch-enemy seemed to narrow her ability to see the bigger picture. This was played out when her daughter was given the once in a lifetime opportunity to ask for something amazing (I found myself screaming inside my head “Ask for 49.9% of the kingdom!”), but instead Herodias told her daughter to ask for the head of John the Baptist?! Herodias squandered an opportunity to set her daughter up for the future and instead behead a man because he got under her skin. Our influence may not seem as extreme as Herodias, but each of us possess influential power. Today, I'm reflecting on the following questions:
Do I think I have influential power? What ways can I be more strategic about using my influence positively? Am I narrowly focused on any areas/persons/ideas in a way that prevents me from seeing the bigger picture? Why am I so focused on this area/person/idea?
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Reading Tips . . .
Start by asking God to interact with you
Ask for a fresh perspective
Expect to be challenged in your assumptions
Try imagining yourself in the story
Slow down and pay attention to your feelings, thoughts and reactions
When something bothers you, talk to God about it
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