It is man’s nature to attempt to silence the truth. Truth is around us, within us and shouts out to us through nature, circumstances and people we meet in our lives. Yet, we rarely like the truth, which is the basis for the old adage, ‘the bitter truth’. And predictably, man attempts to escape, divert, justify and if all else fails, to silence the truth. The story of the death of John the Baptist is an example of how the scheming Herod family comes face to face with the fearless John, who refuses to cower or compromise.
17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. —-On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22 When the daughter of[d] Herodias came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his dinner guests.
The king said to the girl, “Ask me for anything you want, and I’ll give it to you” ——–24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?”
“The head of John the Baptist,” she answered.
25 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.”
26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. The man went, beheaded John in the prison, 28 and brought back his head on a platter. (Mark 6)
Herod knew in his heart that John the Baptist spoke God’s word in general, and spoke out God’s mind in particular, on the unacceptable relationship he had with Herodias. He had a choice to either hearken to his voice or silence him. Urged on by the scheming Herodias, who found no qualms about using the naivety of her daughter, Herod orders the execution of John. He was aided in this decision, likely by his partly inebriated state and also by his unwillingness to lose honor in front of his guests where he had made the oath to honor the girl’s demand.
When man attempts to silence the truth, it is he himself that is silenced from the truth, because truth cannot be silenced. If truth is truth, it is eternal and always has a tendency to come back stronger and bolder. Neither John’s message nor the more prominent Jesus, who was silenced by the leaders of his time, could be put away though they both went to their deaths. Their message became stronger and more powerful, lasting through the ages, whereas dynasties like Herod’s fizzled away in quick time. Worse, the opportunity to receive the truth and embrace salvation, ensuring one’s eternal future is lost forever.
When truth speaks, silence it only at your own peril.
- THE INNER BATTLE