Welcome to day 15 of our Blobble Study of Mark’s gospel. By reading the whole gospel straight through we are able to see how Mark builds the story and how much the whole gospel revolves around the conflict Jesus creates. Every chapter bristles with astounding actions, subversive words and upsetting behaviors. Jesus is unpredictable, dangerous and the growing adulation of the ever increasing crowds makes the situation worse. By now the Scribes and Pharisees are pitted against him, his family and friends have rejected him and the crowds, while following him avidly, are blind to who he really is. We sense that most of them are simply interested in getting something from Jesus. They want to be healed, they have a  political agenda or they simply want to be entertained.

Today the tension grows as Jesus comes to the attention of King Herod.

Herod’s Opinion of Jesus.

14King Herod heard about it, for his fame had become widespread, and people were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead; that is why mighty powers are at work in him. 15Others were saying, “He is Elijah”; still others, “He is a prophet like any of the prophets.” 16But when Herod learned of it, he said, “It is John whom I beheaded. He has been raised up.”

The Death of John the Baptist.

17Herod was the one who had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, whom he had married.i18John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”j19Herodias harbored a grudge against him and wanted to kill him but was unable to do so.20Herod feared John, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man, and kept him in custody. When he heard him speak he was very much perplexed, yet he liked to listen to him.21She had an opportunity one day when Herod, on his birthday, gave a banquet for his courtiers, his military officers, and the leading men of Galilee.22Herodias’s own daughter came in and performed a dance that delighted Herod and his guests. The king said to the girl, “Ask of me whatever you wish and I will grant it to you.”23He even swore [many things] to her, “I will grant you whatever you ask of me, even to half of my kingdom.” 24She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.”25The girl hurried back to the king’s presence and made her request, “I want you to give me at once on a platter the head of John the Baptist.”26The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her.27 So he promptly dispatched an executioner with orders to bring back his head. He went off and beheaded him in the prison.28He brought in the head on a platter and gave it to the girl. The girl in turn gave it to her mother.29When his disciples heard about it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

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