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Human wickedness, where there is no God!

Rev. Enoch Thompson | May 6, 2023 | Matthew 14:1-12


⁸Prompted by her mother, she said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist." ⁹The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted ¹⁰ and had John beheaded in the prison. Matt 14:8-10 (NIV)


Do you remember the gruesome stories we read in the newspapers and hear on the electronic media? Murders, shootings, robberies, rapes etc? What about the abuse of parental or political positions used wickedly to the disadvantage of the helpless? All these are the products of the human heart, where there is no God in the lives of the people doing these evil things. The narrative of the killing of John the Baptist depicts what evil can do to those who stand for truth, right and righteousness. The layers of the wickedness of the human condition are peeled off one after another as we read Matthew’s record.

Human wickedness is shown when we lose our conscience and refuse to bow to the need to repent from sin when we are convicted by the Holy Spirit. King Herod depicted this in verses 1 and 2. He had chosen, contrary to tradition and to sound moral counsel, to marry his brother Philip’s wife. He had rejected the preaching of John the Baptist against his misbehaviour, and to satisfy the evil wishes of Herodias, the woman in the middle of the whole story, Herod had agreed to have John the Baptist imprisoned and later killed in prison, and his head presented as a trophy of evil to Herodias through her daughter.

Our focus for reflection today is on King Herod’s mental and moral struggles. Sin will always leave an aftertaste of spiritual and mental-emotional battles, which can only be settled when we choose to be convicted by right and truth and converted from wrong to right.

Herod was disturbed when he heard about the miracles of the Lord Jesus. He mistook Him for a resurrected John the Baptist, who is now empowered with miraculous power in addition to his cutting moral preaching. Herod must have been afraid to have his supposed moral contender re-appear with more missiles to shoot at him.

The problem of Herod is often the problem of humans. When we are faced with the truth, we give it a mental analysis and put a convenient and comforting interpretation to it. And though the conclusion of our analysis shows that we need to repent, we remain entrenched in our ways. Herod was convicted of the rightness of what John preached to him, he was afraid John had risen from the dead with new power, but he was not ready nor willing to repent and be converted from his evil ways.


Are there things that God is convicting you of, as wrong and needing stopping? Will you take steps to bring yourself to the new conduct that God’s Word requires of you? We need more than conviction; we must have conversion! Christian conversion calls for moral surgery, not moral cosmetics!


Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for the probing power of the Word, and the cutting influences of your Holy Spirit. Please make me sensitive to the voice of the Spirit, and please make me willing to respond appropriately and drastically, and to be converted.

May the Gospel reach out to lost humanity with strong conviction power and may there be genuine conversion in all who profess faith. For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.



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