Read Matthew 14
The chapter begins with a statement by Herod the Tetrarch that requires a little back story. Herod is not the same ruler that ordered the killing of children through the age of 2 near the time of the birth of Jesus. Tetrarch means that he governed about one-fourth of the country. He had some power but was not ruler over the entire region.
The statement of Herod that required a little history is: “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”
Herod is speaking of Jesus. He thinks that John the Baptist has come back as Jesus.
When did John the Baptist die? That’s what Matthew explains as we begin this chapter.
John had taken his brother’s wife. His brother was not dead. He just wanted his wife. John the Baptist told Herod that dog don’t hunt. Herod threw John in prison.
While john was in prison, Herod was enjoying a birthday celebration in his honor. The daughter of Herodias—the wife he had taken from his brother—danced for Herod. It was a really good dance.
Herod liked it so much that he promised to give his stepdaughter anything she wanted. Surely prompted by her mother she asked for the head of John the Baptist delivered to her on a platter at that very time.
Herod was distressed. It was not that he liked John the Baptist. He didn’t. He too wanted him dead but he was afraid of the people for they held him to be a prophet. But a promise is a promise, and that was a really good dance.
John’s head was brought to the daughter of Herodias and she delivered it to her mother. And you thought that things were bizarre in Game of Thrones.
John’s disciples came and claimed John’s body. We don’t get any more of the story about his head.
What we do know is that some of the people thought the same way that Herod did about Jesus. Some thought he was John the Baptist resurrected. We are just a couple chapters away from Jesus asking who people say that he is.
One of the answers was John the Baptist. Now you know the story.