April 30

Text: Matthew 14:10-12

And he sent and had John beheaded in the prison.  And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl; and she brought it to her mother.  And his disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus. (NASB)

Because godless people are vain, godly people die.  Our world’s evil views godliness as a threatening invasion to be destroyed.  The vindication of Herod’s folly was more important than John’s life.  To be godly in a physical world controlled by evil requires extraordinary courage and determined faith.

Many Christians adore pleasant endings.  Christianity is forged on trust in a pleasant ending.  However, the pleasant ending starts with resurrection.  Realize resurrection occurs after there has been physical death.  Christianity is not a way to avoid physical death, but a way to face death with conviction. 

The conviction is centered in two understandings.  Understanding One: Physical death is powerless to destroy life because of what God did in Jesus Christ.  Understanding Two: Life experienced after physical death is superior in every way to life experienced before physical death because of the absence of evil. 

It is those two understandings that enable the godly to face both life and death in an evil world with the strength God provides.   That strength characterizes those in Christ by courage and faith.  This faith is not a faith in our dreams as people, nor in caring governments, nor in a noble movement, nor in an unselfish institution, but in God’s accomplishments and purposes in Jesus Christ. 

The key to an undeniable influence is kind behavior based on thoughtfulness and caring—even in undesirable situations managed by greedy, selfish people.  Realize that you are considering the action of Herod the tetrarch and John the baptizer 2000 years later.  Though it has been 2000 years, which person would you prefer to be?  Why?

Note: even Jesus had to face the senseless sorrow produced by evil in this world.

Suggestion for reflection: How would you eliminate evil in this world?  (Read Hebrews 11:13-16.)

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