Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Women World Leaders' Podcast

Mar 30, 2022

John the Baptist was beheaded. Does that mean that Herod won? This scripture is full of evil plots, sin, and power-hungry moves. Let’s walk through this and unravel it step by step as we seek to uncover the lesson that God has for us. (Matthew 14:1-12, Mark 6:14-29, Luke 3:19-20)


Welcome to Walking in the Word, a Women World Leaders’ Podcast. My name is Julie Jenkins, and I am so happy you have joined us!

Women World Leaders is a worldwide ministry whose mission is to empower YOU to walk in your God-given purpose. Kimberly Hobbs started this ministry as a Bible Study in her home, but God had bigger plans! As the number of women involved in the ministry increased, God continued to empower us to reach even more for Him. Besides this three-tiered podcast, which focuses on teaching, inspiration, and encouragement, we also offer an array of tools to help you grow. Please visit our website at or our Facebook page under the name Women World Leaders to find out more about how God may be calling you to be empowered and to use the gifts He has given you to empower others. We have leaders from around the world and offer opportunities to grow as a writer, artist, musician, speaker, event-coordinator, prayer-warrior, financial consultant, … the list goes on and on. Our biggest endeavor, however, is growing together as followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Today, you have landed on Walking in the Word. This is our 15-20 minute Bible Study podcast. Each Wednesday, we take a deep dive into a few Scripture verses, and we take a deep breath as we ask God to guide us through and teach us what He wants us to know today from His Word. We are currently walking through the gospels chronologically. Please know that once we put up a podcast, your donations allow us to keep it available to you. So no matter what platform you are listening on, you can always go back and relisten to a particular teaching that God may be calling you to. These podcasts can be a great tool to help you start your own Bible study! Some of the best discussions I have been involved in throughout my life have centered around Scripture. We would LOVE to hear how you are using the podcast! Drop me a note at and let me know.

Today’s scripture reads much like a soap opera. There are steamy characters, betrayal, thwarted love, and even murder. Who ever said that the Bible is boring has simply never read it. Today we are talking about John the Baptist’s death as we study Matthew 14:1-12, Mark 6:14-29, and Luke 3:19-20.

Before we begin, let’s pray…

Dear Most Holy God…thank you for giving us your Word to study together. God, we know that the Bible is living and active, meaning that though it was written years ago, it’s teachings are relevant to us today, and will always be relevant to those who read and study it. We acknowledge that the words we are reading today were breathed by You and that, as we read, you will unveil the lessons that you want us to learn. God, I pray that you take my own thoughts out of this teaching and allow me to present only Your thoughts. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Matthew 14 in the New Living Translation begins…

14 When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee,[a] heard about Jesus, he said to his advisers, “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead! That is why he can do such miracles.”

We just finished reading about Jesus sending out His disciples, giving them His power to preach as well as to heal and cast out evil. As they traveled, we can surmise that news of Jesus and His followers reached Herod Antipas, who was the ruler over the area where Jesus ministered. And this news scared Herod – sending him into a guilt-induced speculation that Jesus was actually John the Baptist resurrected. This kind of makes no sense…because Herod was a Sadducee, so he didn’t even believe in resurrection…and WE know that John the Baptist and Jesus were born nearly at the same time, that John foretold of Jesus’ ministry, and even had baptized Him. But truly…there isn’t much about Herod Antipas that makes sense.

Herod Antipas was a son of Herod the Great, who had 10 wives and many sons…all named Herod! Herod the Great was notoriously evil and had no problem killing his wives or children. You may remember Herod the Great as the Herod who, fearing he would lose his power, ordered all the babies in Bethlehem to be killed after he learned that the new King of the Jews had been born. God protected baby Jesus by sending an angel to Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph, and telling him to flee with Mary and Jesus to Egypt.

So Herod Antipas, who we are reading about today, had clearly come from a long line of evil and power-hungry egotism.

When Herod the Great had died, his kingdom was divided among three of his sons. Herod Antipas, being one of them, became a “tetrarch”- which meant a ruler over a fourth of the kingdom, at the age of 17. Throughout his reign of 30 years, Herod Antipas craved more and more power. As part of that craving, he married his first wife, the daughter of an Arabian King, to gain a political advantage.

But fifteen years later, while visiting his brother Herod Philip, a civilian in Rome, Herod Antipas fell in love with Herod Philip’s wife, his own sister-in-law who also happened be his half-niece and was named…wait for it…Herodias!

Herodias, who was also power-hungry and conniving, was game for the new marriage with her brother-in-law, but on the condition that Herod Antipas divorce his current wife.

So now we have a NEW power-couple, so-to-speak…Herod Antipas and Herodias. And their conniving and evil ways fed into each other.

Remembering that our scripture began with Herod Antipas succumbing to a guilt-induced speculation that Jesus is the resurrected John the Baptist? As we read on, we see where that guilt comes from. What is recorded next is a flashback…and it had been festering in Herod Antipas’ conscience.

Matthew 14:3…

For Herod had arrested and imprisoned John as a favor to his wife Herodias (the former wife of Herod’s brother Philip). John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry her.” 

Mark 6:19-20 fill in some of the details for us…

Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, 20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him

This is fascinating to me! We just uncovered the evil and confusion that existed in this family, and yet, Mark writes that Herod Antipas RESPECTED John the Baptist and he protected him because he knew that he was a GOOD and HOLY man. And even though what John had to say disturbed Herod…He still LIKED to listen to him!

Luke tells us that John publicly warned the people of Herod’s sin of marrying his brother’s wife, which displayed John’s own loyalty as a prophet of God. But John also courageously spoke truth directly to Herod AFTER he was imprisoned for speaking truth PUBLICLY. John advised Herod that marrying his brother’s wife was against scripture. Herod WAS a Jew, so it should have mattered. And he listened. God was working on Herod. Despite Herod’s evil ancestry and his worldly sins, God did not give up on him. And our God, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, hasn’t given up on you either.

Herod listened, but he turned away without response.

It isn’t enough to listen to God, and then turn away. God calls us each to respond.

What is God trying to tell you today? How is He asking YOU to respond?

Matthew continues in 14:5…

Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet.

So Herod CONTINUED to listen to John…who was speaking for God…but he also continued living his life as usual. Herod had built a royal palace meant for lavish entertaining, and then he proceeded to use it for a lavish pagan celebration – his own birthday party. Mark tells us this party was full of high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. This was no doubt a raucous event with plenty of alcohol to go around.

It was normal, at a party such as this, to put slave girls on display as they danced sensually for the pleasure of the men.

But as we have seen, the Herodian family was not quite normal, and they certainly lacked family values. And as Herodias was seeking power…she sent her daughter out to be the entertainment. Her likely pre-teen daughter. And the men were indeed entertained. And Herod gave her great praise.

Matthew 14:6 continues…

But at a birthday party for Herod, Herodias’s daughter performed a dance that greatly pleased him, so he promised with a vow to give her anything she wanted.

Mark records that Herod said to the young girl…“Ask me for anything you like, and I will give it to you.” 23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”

24 She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?”

Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”

25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”

Herodias was seeking power herself. She saw the relationship building between John the Baptist and Herod. John had actually been imprisoned for two years by this time. Herod had plenty of time to listen to John’s teaching and respond. He listened. But he didn’t respond.

And then, through a string of bad decisions, Herod’s path was determined.

Herod gave into his desire for power and control and married his first wife for political reasons.

Then he gave into his lust and married his brother’s wife.

Next, Herod heard John’s public warning, and, as a favor to his wife, had John imprisoned.

He then sat and listened to John, a man he respected as good and holy – but Herod refused to respond and, instead, allowed his heart to continue to harden.

Then Herod threw a raucous pagan party, and promised the young, promiscuous dancer, who was also his wife’s daughter, anything she wanted.

And she asked for John’s head. In front of the government officials, army officers, and the leading men of Galilee.

From the depths of his hard heart, he now had no choice. Mark continues in 6:26…

26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, 28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.

Matthew ends this section with…

Then they went and told Jesus what had happened.

John was a good, upstanding man. A righteous prophet who was courageous and faithful. And he was beheaded.

Herod Antipas was a wicked, weak, and confused man who had every opportunity to listen and respond to John’s teaching. He did listen. But he refused to respond and enjoyed his fun in the sun.

Who won?

History tells us that Herod Antipas’ divorce from his first wife led to a border war and serious military losses. And Herodias continued to cajole him into attempting to gain more power; but instead of becoming king, in the end he was removed from power and banished to Gaul, where he died.

But more importantly than that, we saw Herod’s heart harden. It is never up to us to say that someone is with or without an eternity in heaven. But we don’t have any record that Herod did turn to Jesus. And that is the biggest loss of all. God gave Herod EVERY opportunity, and he turned away again and again.

God DOES pursue each of us. But it is up to each individual to not only listen, but to respond. And make no doubt about it, although our God is patient, there will be a time when it will be too late to respond.

If you refuse to listen to God, your heart will grow harder day by day, until you can no longer hear His call.

AND the fact is that God can simply close the door at any moment – because the end times are coming and none of us know when our last breath on this earth will be. And then, no matter how ready you are, if you haven’t already responded, it will be too late.

So in this twisted drama, who won? John was beheaded – but he is spending his eternity with God in heaven.

Herod Antipas enjoyed the party and the power – but he died alone, and to our knowledge without turning to God.

Are you on the winning track? Have YOU listened and responded to Jesus’ call? If not…will you now? Before it is too late?

Oh most gracious Lord and Savior…we come to you today with humble hearts asking you to break the strongholds in our lives. Asking you to allow us to hear You and giving us the courage to respond. God, we confess that we are sinners in a broken world. We confess that without you, we are alone and our lives are empty. Jesus, enter our hearts. Forgive our sins. And set us on a path of resolution with you. We thank you for your guidance and for giving each of us the next steps to respond to your grace with courage. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.