The Fear of King Herod – Gospel in Life

The Fear of King Herod

Tim Keller |  April 30, 2006

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  • Jesus' Death & Resurrection
Mark 6:14-30
RS 190-17

Mark 6:14–30

Mark’s gospel tells the story of King Herod and John the Baptist. Instead of focusing on John’s heroic ending, it shows us how Herod’s life went terribly wrong. This story teaches us three important things: how doubt can hurt us, how we should handle doubt, and where we can find the strength to overcome doubt. It warns us not to make the same mistakes as Herod and encourages us to be brave in facing our doubts.

1. What doubts do to us

Herod was torn between two feelings about John the Baptist’s preaching because he was in a wrong relationship with Herodias, which John publicly criticized. Even though Herod liked listening to John’s words, he couldn’t fully accept them because of his moral confusion. This kind of spiritual uncertainty, feeling torn between two options, is something many people experience, whether they’re Christians or not.

2. What we should do with our doubts

Although doubt is often seen as a bad thing in religious contexts, it can actually help us grow and understand our faith better. The Bible tells us to be understanding and patient with those who have doubts. For example, a man in the Bible had doubts but still received healing. So, during tough times, embracing our doubts can actually make our faith stronger and spur us to action, instead of letting fear stop us in our tracks.

3. Where are we going to get the power to do that?

To keep anything else from controlling us, we need to face our biggest fears head-on. Like John the Baptist, when we fear God more than anything else, we are freed from all other fears. Remembering that Jesus Christ faced the ultimate doubt and loss when he died on the cross can comfort us in our own doubts and struggles. It reminds us that we are saved by grace, not by being certain about everything.



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