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8. HEAD ON A TRAY (Mark.6:16-29)

BACKGROUND: Herod was actually no king but only a tetrarch that reigned over a part of Palestine by permission of the Romans. When the Jewish historian Josephus writes about the marriages of Herod, he tells of the same facts as the Bible. He also mentions the name of the young daughter of Herodias; she was called Salome. John the Baptist was about 30 years of age at the time of his arrest.
  1. Think of various reasons why Herod wanted to rob his brother of his wife (vs.17-18)?
    • Think of possible reasons why Herodias had wanted to marry Herod and leave her husband.
  2. Why did John the Baptist want to meddle with the private life of Herod although he certainly knew it was dangerous?
    • How would you react if someone came to rebuke you about your private sin?
    • Why did Herodias hate John even more than her husband did (vs.19-20)?
  3. What do you think John was pondering while sitting chained inside a jail? (Do you think he ever regretted having criticized Herod?)
  4. Why did Herod fear John even though he was only a prisoner (vs.20)?
    • Why wasn't John afraid of Herod even though he was his prisoner?
    • What in John's message stimulated Herod's interest?
  5. The daughter of Herodias was in her teens. Discuss what kind of life she probably had lead up to this point?
    • What impression does the story give about the relationship between the mother and the daughter (vs.21-28)?
    • Why didn't the girl want a horse or a boat or a party dress for her birthday, as most girls her age would?
  6. Why did Herodias and her daughter want to have John's head; why wasn't mere execution enough? And why on a platter, not in a bag or box?
    • How many murderers do you find in this text?
    • What effect do you think this incident had on the girl's future?
  7. What does verse 26 reveal about Herod?
    • Why did the murder of John have a greater impact on Herod than his many other violent acts (vs.16)?
  8. How do you think John felt in his last moments?
    • Why did the forerunner of the Messiah have to succumb to a fate like that?
  9. What do you think the disciples of John thought about the fate of their teacher (vs.29)?
    • Do you think the life of John ended too early? Give your reasons.
    • Compare the life of John to the lives of Herod and Herodias.
    • What is similar about the lives and deaths of John and Jesus? What is different?
  10. What do you think is the main point of this text to our time and to you personally?

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