His Disciples . . . Went and Told Jesus

January 16, 2021

Then his disciples came and took away the body and buried it, and went and told Jesus (Matthew 14:12).

“Herod rejected Christ, and Christ rejected Herod. For fear of a woman, for fear of his reputation, for fear of his peers, for fear of his throne - and for lack of fear for God - he damned his soul forever” (John MacArthur). Herod Antipas is an enigma, but is like a lot of people in our culture - irresponsible, egocentric, emotionally driven, narcissistic, vacillating at every turn, lustful, etc.

Herod wanted John dead. Herodias wanted John dead. John’s call to repentance of sin offended the tetrarch and his wife, just as it does in our culture today. It offended the Pharisees who came to see John at the Jordan River at the beginning of his ministry. The call to repentance of sin is always offensive to a sin laden, morally apathetic, godless society. It is a shameful testimony to the American pulpit when people from a large, inner-city church come to a small struggling rural church and say, “We came here because this church believes in preaching and teaching the Word of God. You call sin - sin!”

John the Baptizer would not accommodate the theology or the theologians of his day. He would not tone down his message when invited by the first family to an audience with them in the palace. He would not excuse himself or his message for anyone. A. T. Robertson, the great New Testament Greek scholar wrote, “It cost him his head; but it is better to have a head like John the Baptist and lose it than to have an ordinary head and keep it.”

The ghastly act of Herod broke the heart of John’s disciples and friends. They buried the body of their mentor and friend, then they went and told Jesus. Little did they know that John was the first martyr to die for Jesus Christ. The time was drawing near for the second martyr. But He would not die for judging others of sin. He would die for the judgment of sin and the salvation of the sinner.

Why would they bother telling Jesus about John’s death? It was not uncommon for despots to kill others on a whim, on a bet, on a promise. But why tell Jesus? Jesus was involved in the same ministry as John. His life may be in danger as well. They understood Jesus’ affection and respect for John and would want Jesus to know of his death. But I believe they came to Jesus for consolation. They were broken hearted. They were devastated. Who better to go to than the One who said, Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

“Lord Jesus, thank You for Your love and compassion, for Your understanding of our frame, and for compelling us to come to You when we are broken in heart and spirit. As Peter said, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life’. Thank You that You never leave or forsake us, even when we are at our lowest. Amen.”

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