John was beheaded because of Sexual Immorality!


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Mark 7:1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus 2 and saw some of his disciples eating food with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (The Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they give their hands a ceremonial washing, holding to the tradition of the elders. 4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash. And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles.)
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”
6 He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’
8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”
9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”
14 Again Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. 15 Nothing outside a person can defile them by going into them. Rather, it is what comes out of a person that defiles them.
17 After he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about this parable. 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? 19 For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.)
20 He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. 21 For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”
I want to put this in a light that shines a little different than the one I learned in Sunday School. My Sunday School teachers went through verses 21 & 22 with a fine-toothed comb. They didn't set the scene, so they didn't see what was going on around this list. It's as if they were looking through cracked glasses.

Mark, also known as John Mark, was not one of the 12 Disciples or Apostles. The man who wrote this Gospel became a disciple of Jesus. He was only about 15 or 16 when all this was going on around him. He wasn't an Apostle; he was a young man who followed them around. And then when he started to work, a huge argument broke out between Paul and Barnabus over him. Some of what Mark wrote seems to conflict with the others, but those are the stories he is repeating because he didn't get to attend.

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law were not like the preacher or deacon at your local church. They were plotting to kill Jesus. They didn't like the fact He knew scripture better than they did. They didn't like that He didn't bow down to their laws. They were looking for a way to take Jesus to the cross without causing an uprising. If they could get Him to say something like "it's ok to eat pig" then the crowds would leave Him and that would solve their problem. But when He did say it.... verse 18.... they couldn't understand it.

Now to the political side of this. Herod had just murdered John the Baptist. Salome, Herod's niece and stepdaughter, did a strip tease for Herod, and when he was all inspired to give her the moon [if you know what I mean] he promised he would grant her any wish she wanted. She must have been one fine pole dancer! Her mother, Herodias, the wife and sister-in-law of Herod, insisted on revenge over John the Baptist because he insisted that she was sexually immoral and told them all, in public, that they needed to repent.

Now sure, if you take it out of context, it does look like it's about freaks.... but it's about Herod and his sleazy family. Herod was sleeping with his brother's wife and lusting after his brother's daughter. That's what sexual immorality looks like! John was beheaded because of sexual immorality.

How many of the people in your church or synagogue are divorced? How many of the people in your church are lusting after their stepdaughters [or daughters]? How many wife beaters are living unscathed in Southern Maryland? How many girls are raped every year? How many priests were lusting after the young children back then and even now? Remember, a girl was a woman at the age of 11 or 12 back in those days. How old was Salome when she danced for the head of John the Baptist on a platter? How many of our priests are lusting after our children in the churches these days? Face it, if we really explore Sexual Immorality, we are too guilty to be pointing the finger at anyone!

John was beheaded because of sexual immorality.