But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.
So here’s the thing. Apparently Herod (Antipas) had married his half brother’s wife, persuading her to leave her husband and divorcing his own wife. The girl’s father was another half brother(Aristobulus), and she married another Herod (the other half brother previously mentioned). So Herod married his sister in law and his niece, I suppose. Confused? Me too. Anyway.
John didn’t have any trouble expressing an opinion. He needed that boldness of speech in order to fulfil his mission. He didn’t mince words. So when he heard of Herod’s doings he didn’t remain silent, shaking his head quietly and perhaps grumbling with a couple of close friends. No, he spoke out – he rebuked Herod. He directed his criticism firmly at the ruler. And Herod reacted – locking John up in prison (Luke makes quite clear what he thinks of this – to all the evil things Herod had done, he added this).
We can be challenged by John’s attitude. How willing are we to speak out against that which is wrong? Are we afraid of scorn? John ended up in prison. What does it take for us to defend that which we believe in? How would we survive in a place actively hostile to our beliefs and opinions?
Lots of questions, but they set the mind buzzing.
How do we speak boldly today? What do we face in our culture(s) which make it difficult to speak out? Are there times to speak and times to remain silent? How do we choose? Why are we fearful? Are we willing to say things even if they may be misunderstood or scoffed at? How far are we prepared to go for our principles?