The Good News – Dying unto Righteousness- The Death of Yochanan
And Herodes the district ruler heard all the report of that was done by Yahushua, for His Name had become well-known. And Herodes said, “Yochanan I have beheaded, but who is this of whom I hear such reports?”
And he was seeking to see Him. And was perplexed, because it was said by some that Yochanan had been raised from the dead, and he said to his servants, “This is Yochanan the Immerser. He has risen from the dead, and that is why these mighty powers are at work in him.”
Others said, “He is Eliyahu (Elijah).”
And others said, “He is a prophet – like one of the prophets.”
But when Herodes heard, he said, “This one is Yochanan whom I beheaded, he has been raised from the dead!”
For Herodes himself had sent and seized Yochanan, and bound him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her, so Herodias held a grudge against him and wished to kill him, but was unable, for Herodes feared Yochanan, knowing that he was a righteous and set-apart man, and he protected him.
And when he heard him, he was much perplexed, yet heard him gladly. And a suitable day came when Herodes on his birthday gave a feast for his great men, and the high officers, and the chief men of Galil.
And when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, and pleased Herodes and those who sat with him, the sovereign said to the girl, “Ask me whatever you wish, and I shall give it to you.”
And he swore to her, “Whatever you ask me, I shall give you, up to half of my reign.”
And she went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?”
And she said, “The head of Yochanan the Immerser!”
And she, being urged on by her mother, coming in immediately with haste to the sovereign she asked, saying, “I wish that you give me at once the head of Yochanan the Immerser on a dish.”
And the sovereign, becoming deeply grieved, because of the oaths, and because of those who sat with him, did not wish to refuse her, he commanded it to be given, and the sovereign straightaway sent an executioner and commanded his head to be brought.
And he went and beheaded him in prison, and brought his head on a dish, and gave it to the girl. And the girl gave it to her mother. And when his taught ones heard of it, they came and took away his dead body and laid it in a tomb, and went and reported to Yahushua.
Now when Yahushua heard it, He withdrew from there by boat to a deserted place, by Himself.
This excerpt in the The Good News Series is traditionally found in Mattityahu (Matthew) 14:1-13 and Marços (Mark) 6:14-32. It describes the unfortunate events surrounding the death of Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist).
This begs a much more important question from all of us: how far are we willing to go for our faith? Are willing to stand up for truth, even if it may mean your death?
Yochanan, who was not known for words of flattery, preached the truth always for as Yahushua spoke of him in Yochanan (John) 5:32-35 –
Yochanan (John) 5:32-35:
(32) “There is another who bears witness of Me, and I know that the witness which He witnesses of Me is true.”
(33) “You have sent to Yochanan, and he bore witness to the truth.”
(34) “But I do not receive witness from man, but I say this in order that you might be saved.”
(35) “He was the burning and shining lamp, and for while you wished to rejoice in his light.”
This standing up for righteousness and truth in the face of certain death and proclaiming the Great and Terrible day of Yahweh in the wilderness is a quality that is expected of us as well!
Mattityahu (Matthew) 16:24-27:
(24) Then said Yahushua unto his taught ones, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his stake, and follow me.
(25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
(26) For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
(27) For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Herodes took Herodias from his brother Phillip and had him murdered. This was the evil word that Yochanan proclaimed to Herodes in the hearing of Herodias. The pride of Herodias due to her elevation in stature, her haughty spirit and pursuit of unlawful gain hardened her heart against Yochanan, and set both on a path towards destruction.
It is very reminiscent of the tenuous relationship between Ahab, Jezebel, and Eliyahu the prophet-
Melekim Aleph (1Kings) 19:1-2:
(1 ) Ahav (Ahab) told Izevel (Jezebel) all that Eliyahu had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword.
(2) Then Izevel send a messenger to Eliyahu, saying, So let the idols do to me, and more also, if I don’t make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.
What is the great lesson we can glean from this? Standing up for righteousness for the sake of righteousness comes with a very hefty price. Are we willing to lie, when faced with that moment, to protect our flesh? Or are we willing to die unto righteousness? I pray that when we are faced with that moment, that Yahweh our Elohim blesses us with His set-apart spirit, so that we may know what to do, know when to flee, and know when to stand firm. Many blessing to you all, Shalom Aleichem!