Last Breath. First Breath.
June 10, 2019
At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, and brought back his head on a platter. He presented it to the girl, and she gave it to her mother.
King Herod threw a party. A bash. He invited all the Who’s Who—the high officials, the military commanders, the leading men of the region. The banquet table was packed with food. The wine flowed freely. And when it was time for entertainment, the daughter of his wife, Herodias, entered the hall to dance before the high-spirited men.
According to the Jewish historian Josephus, the daughter’s name was Salome. She was a young woman of marriageable age. While no details are given, her dance, no doubt, was erotic and suggestive. Herod and his male guests were pleased. Inspired by drink and desire, the king made an outrageous offer: “Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.” Inspired by her mother, Salome asked for one thing: The head of John the Baptist, who had disapproved of the illicit marriage between Herod and Herodias. Herod’s pleasure turned to despair. But a promise was a promise.
And so the forerunner of Jesus, the man that blazed the path, died in response to a lascivious dance. God often allowed dishonorable deaths for His children, especially His Son. But because of His Son’s humiliating death on a cross, every follower of Jesus passes from a last breath here to a first breath in heaven. Because of Jesus, death loses. Every believer lives forever victorious because of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Father, thank You that Jesus has forever defeated death, the last enemy. Thank You that Jesus gives victory now and forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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