One renewing and missional feature in Mark’s appalling story is John’s fearless stand for marital fidelity. John challenged the Tetrarch of Galilee, Herod Antipas’s incestuous and sinful relationship. Herod Antipas appreciated the entertainment value that John the Baptist brought to him but not the eternal truth. Herod’s conscience seared by sin, especially sexual sin, ‘something so degrading as incest, normally blinds a person to truth’ (1 Tim 4:2).
Leadership or discipleship (beyond saving faces in front of the crowd) is demanding, but only faithful Christians with prophetic voices can do it in the context of fidelity to the full Christian moral and theological vision. To be a true follower of Christ or a Christian leader is difficult to reconcile with the secular progressives tendency and rearrangement of ‘… bigotries and call it righteousness.’ Raising prophetic voices like John the Baptist calls us to be a strong and missional part of divine time table in face of the world’s evil including racism and our sex free culture (Mk 6:18).
Herod, as a parable that speaks to leaders need prophetic voices and prophets of truth – righteous and yet humble, fearless and yet self-effacing. Such a prophetic voices could not do better than adopt John’s motto when considering Jesus Christ, our Master: “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). John filled with the Holy Spirit with the message of repentance denounced hypocrisy and demanded the highest standards of those who showed any interest in his message. The identity of John was simply as a voice, a voice that cannot be seen but heard only was simply a signpost, preparing and pointing people to the way for the Lord. Prophetic voices like John seems costly to preach, teach and stand for what is true and right, what is unpopular, and may not even be beneficial or comfortable.
Herod as a parable that speaks to the leadership cannot be flattered. Herod, a parable that speaks to the church and political leadership calls for a channel of grace and voices like John, standing and speaking the truth without compromising. Herod as a parable that speaks to the church and political leadership calls for a stop in cutting off righteousness in our structures and governance. Herod, a parable that speaks to the church and political leadership reminds weak rulers that they will soon be laid in a tomb and disappears from human history. Against the crowd of people surrounding and trapping Herod, as a parable that speaks to leadership suggests that minimal voices like John are to be listen to in order to overcome leadership unruly appetites and lack of freedom to stand for the truth.
Herod as a parable that speaks to leadership is not just about listening to John the Baptist but a warning not to allow the Gospel seed to fall on stony ground. Herod as a parable that speaks to leadership is counter-cultural to unwise promises and leadership pride that would not let us humble ourselves and back down from destruction. The Herod as a parable that speak to leadership today is damaging, dividing, declining, and killing the church and nations. Herod as a parable knows what it means to be righteous and holy just as Herod Antipas knew John to be righteous and a holy man but failed to stand for the truth. Herod as a parable that speaks to leadership have an uneasy sense of hard truth about lives, but not ready to accept it.
Herod, a parable that speaks to leadership warns against political, social and family pressures. Herod was vulnerable to his wife as well and was beguiled by Salome’s sexually charged dancing and its effect on his guests. Herod, as a parable that speaks to leadership warns against leadership lustful desire and Herodias’ opposition plot against the truth. Herod, though grieved, still does what he knows is terribly wrong. Herod, a parable that speaks to leadership today warns persons in positions of power who are subjected to powerful pressures that pose a threat to their own security and spirituality. Herod as a parable speaks to leader about the vanity of power with example of how Herod fell in disgrace with Rome and was dethroned and exiled to Gaul (France) where he died.
Herod as a parable to leadership warns against standing for what is easy, what is popular, what is comfortable, what is convenient, what is beneficial, and what is wrong. Herod model of leadership looks for the easy road and take it, checks the pulse of the majority, choose what fits them best, do what fits their calendar, stands for what profits them, and simply stand for the wrong issues. Herod as a parable to leadership describes in detail their destructive beliefs and practices, the lust for power, the denial of Christ’s deity, the greed, and the perverted sensuality. Beloved, leadership even with best of intentions are prone to fail when we walk in our own strength and not in obedience to God’s Word.