Amos 7:7-15; Ephesians 1:3-14; Mark 6:14-29

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

If you’ve ever played a game of hide and seek, you know that you can’t hide forever. Even if you found the best hiding place where no one would ever think to look, you eventually will need to leave it behind. The moment you step out from hiding, you’re afraid that someone might find you.

It’s no different with our baggage or our “dead bodies in the closet”. It’s our sin and evil deeds that we wish to keep hidden so that no one may find them. Indeed, like playing a game of hide and seek, we look for the best hiding place. But nothing stays hidden forever.

This is the issue that Herod has in our Gospel reading today. He hears about Jesus going around teaching, preaching, and performing miracles that he assumes Jesus is John raised from the dead (Mark 6:16). For so we read a flashback of the very circumstances that brought about John’s death. Herod had thrown a birthday party and invited all of the nobles. John had been speaking to him about the sinfulness of his current marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife. Herod’s niece, the daughter of Herodias, “performed” for those in attendance so Herod was pleased. Thus, Herod offers her a gift, up to even half his kingdom! After consulting with her mother, the daughter asks for John the Baptist’s head on a platter.

John’s death is a reminder for us, as Christians, that persecution always follows the preaching of God’s word. However, there’s also this sentiment from Herod that he was sorrowful over John’s death. So, we wonder, why? Just earlier, Mark records this: “When [Herod] heard [John], he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly,” Mark 6:20. John was constantly calling out Herod’s unlawful marriage to Herodias. John was calling Herod to repent for all the evil he had done. Yet, John wasn’t just preaching about repentance, he was preaching about Jesus!

Indeed, God’s word is perplexing to us, like it was to Herod. We hear all over that we’re poor, miserable sinners who deserve nothing but death and condemnation. However, God’s word also says that God will give us peace and life and eternity! For the sins that we try to hide will eventually come to light. They will be laid out before God and his almighty throne. For instead of being afraid of them being exposed, John shows us the need to confess them, to lay them on Jesus who shall take them all to the cross. Herodias thought that by killing John, they would be rid of their sin. It was actually the opposite. John was showing that the only way to rid sin from their life was to lay it on Jesus who shall cleanse them by his blood shed on the cross. No longer should we fear our sins being brought to light, for they have been obliterated in the very light and life of Christ!

Pastor Sorenson


O Lord, You granted Your prophets strength to resist the temptations of the devil and courage to proclaim repentance. Give us pure hearts and minds to follow Your Son faithfully even into suffering and death; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen!