Yep. foggy. But we’ll make it through the time change.
And now, Herod and John.
I think that this is the longest story in Mark so far.
It is a big story about what led to John’s beheading. If I were more alert, I’d write an essay. But I do want to make suggestions to invite some thinking. (Read it through yourself, too.)
1. This story answers the question, “What happened with John, anyway?” John is where the Gospel started, the first person we meet. In our slow reading, we may have forgotten that. But people listening straight through would not have forgotten.
2. It this story, where John ends up dead, it’s clear that the outcome of speaking truth to power, or better, speaking God’s truth to ruling power, can be fatal. When the first listeners are in Imperial Rome, this honesty matters.
3. There are humans in power, with human reactions and emotions. The more power, however, the more these human reactions and emotions have repercussions. Many people are annoyed by messages. Most people cannot kill. But Herod’s timidity in the face of peer pressure, Herodias’ anger at John, and other pieces of the story are fundamentally human.
4. I want to know how Herod first heard John, and then how John talked with him while in prison. The way Mark talks about their interaction is so intriguing.
That’s a start. Read it through.
And take a nap.