by Jennifer Woodley
‘for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he protected him. When he heard John, he was greatly perplexed; and yet he liked to listen to him.’ Mark 6:20 (NRSV)
Though King Herod was intrigued by John the Baptist’s words and ‘he liked to listen to him’, the hearing made no difference to Herod. John’s words were intended to bring about repentance and conversion, but instead, they resulted in no change at all. Herod still made rash decisions and prideful promises that indicated the Baptizer’s message had fallen on deaf ears. If Herod had heeded John’s teaching, John may not have met such a tragic death.
James instructs believers to be ‘quick to listen and slow to speak’ (James 1:19). James understood that those who hear the gospel deceive themselves if they are not doers of it also. No amount of reading Scripture will matter if Jesus’ followers don’t live out their faith in the minute-by-minute, day-to-day dealings in the world.
Herod heard, but soon forgot. However, we are called to persevere; allowing the word of God to do its good work, resulting in repentance and changed behaviour. These are the people who will be blessed (James 1:25).
If we are a new people in Christ, we must show our newness to the world, by what we do. If we are following Christ, we must embrace a lifestyle that earnestly and continuously mediates upon the Scriptures and then practically lives out these teachings in the ordinariness of daily life. Christ’s teachings are not meant to be just heard, but to be lived out in the shared life with others.
Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who enjoys encouraging others on their journey with Jesus through writing and mentoring.