July 10

Mark 6:14-20

“for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.” vs. 20

Herod ruled over Galilee and Perea (a territory east of the Jordan and the Dead Sea) on behalf of the Romans and was involved in a series of clashes with the king of Nabatea. He had arrested John because of his comments about Herod’s marital status, but because of John’s popularity he hesitated to kill him. Instead John was imprisoned in Machaerus, a palace fortress, on the eastern highland over the Dead Sea. Herod who was widely traveled, a member of the Imperial jet set and a regular visitor to Rome, evidently found amusement in conversing with John, and perhaps hearing stories about the decadence of the Jewish religious establishment in Jerusalem. It seems likely that Herod, familiar with both privilege and prestige, lacked a moral compass, and simply acted in line with his base desires. Everything hinged on maintaining control and doing whatever he could to stay in power. When those are the operative principles, as we see again and again among our politicians, there is little chance that the words of a prophet are going to make a difference. Power closes minds! The most effective change always comes from those with well-calibrated moral compasses working from the outside in and the bottom up.

Thought for the Day: Why do the powerful have closed minds?

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