Matthew 14:1-12 (The Death of John the Baptist 2)

What day occasioned the death of John the Baptist?  See Mat 14:6.  On what other occasion is a birthday mentioned in Scripture?  See Gen 40:20-22.  In what way were these celebrations humanistic and not godly?  Cf. Mar 6:21 and think: who were they celebrating?  Do you think it is significant or just incidental that the only birthday celebrations mentioned in Scripture were for pagans?  Is it necessarily wrong to celebrate a birthday?  Is it wrong to celebrate our own?  Are our birthday celebrations humanistic or godly?  How might a godly birthday celebration differ from the worldly celebrations mentioned in Scripture?  How does a godly celebration of Christ’s birthday differ from a worldly one?

Who was the ultimate instigator behind John’s imprisonment and death, and why?  See Mat 14:3,8, Mar 6:19.  What does this indicate about the character of Herodias?  Who in the Old Testament is she perhaps most like?  See 1Ki 18:4.  In what ways was Herod and Herodias’ relationship to him like Ahab and Jezebel’s relationship to him?  Cf. 1Ki 21:25.  In contrast, what is the relationship of a godly woman to her husband?  See 1Pe 3:1-6.  What circumstance provided Herodias the opportunity of having her desire fulfilled to have John put to death?  See Mat 14:6-7, Mar 6:21-24.  How old would Herodias’ daughter Salome who danced before Herod have been?  Note: “girl” in Mat 14:11 is a diminutive form (kora,sion) referring to a young girl around 12-13 years old; cf. Mar 5:41-42 where the same word is used.  Consider that the word for “danced” implied rapid motion and had sensual connotations (cf. 2Sa 6:16,20 where the same Greek word is used in the LXX for David’s dance before the Lord), and that Salome’s dance pleased not only Herod but also his “military commanders and the leading men of Galilee” (Mar 6:21-22).  In light of the Jewish religious customs in regard to modesty, what would have been the spiritual propriety of such an exhibition?  What does this teach us about the character of Salome at even such a young age, even apart from her being an accomplice to John’s murder?  Cf. Pro 20:11.  What three words in Mar 6:25 indicate her full complicity in John’s death and the extent to which the worldly influences in her life had already seared her conscience?  From whom would she have inherited her worldly disposition?  What does this teach us about the influence of a mother or father for evil as well as for good?  Would many 12-13 year old children today who have been desensitized by television, music and video games to violence and the value of life have responded any differently in the same circumstances if prompted by their parent?  What great danger does this highlight for us as parents as we raise our children?  See Luk 17:1-2.

Why in Herod’s household, whether for himself, or his guests, or Herodias, or for Salome, was there no sense of impropriety in Salome’s display, and indeed quite the opposite, that it was praised?  See Joh 15:19a, Eph 2:1-3, 1Jo 2:15.  In most homes in America, including our own, is there any sense of impropriety in such a show?  Hint: think about the ice dancing or choreographed floor routine of women’s gymnastics that are broadcast over the television during the Olympics.  Recall from our discussion about the Herodian dynasty that under the Herods, “Religion was adopted as a policy; and the Hellenizing designs of Antiochus Epiphanes [who set up the abomination of desolation in the physical temple] were carried out, at least in their spirit, by men who professed to observe the law” (McClintock and Strong).  “Eschewing Antiochus Epiphanes’ design to Graecize Jerusalem by substituting the Greek worship and customs for the Jewish law, the Herod’s, while professing to maintain the law, as effectively set at naught its spirit by making it a lever for elevating themselves and their secular kingdom” (Fausett); cf. Isa 55:8-9 and think: where did the Olympics originate?  Read Dan 8:5-13,21-25, 9:27, 11:31-36.  What is the holy temple of God today?  See 1Co 3:16.  Is it possible that the same “Hellenizing designs” of the antichrist, of whom Antiochus Epiphanes was a type, have been carried out in a similar manner in the church today by men who profess to believe the gospel, and this is why the church is so worldly and has lost its savor?  To what extent has the holy Jerusalem of our own hearts and lives been “Graecized” and the spirit of God’s holy law been set at naught by worldly customs to which we’ve grown accustomed?  Cf. 2Th 2:1-12.  What is the remedy for such?  See again Act 2:37-40, 1Jo 2:15-17.

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