We’re in this together

Matthew 13:53-14:12

Jerry A Collins




²                 Should we point out the specific sins of people?

²                 Do we need to comment on the political ills of government?

²                 Will truth telling get us into trouble?


We are all in this together tells us that the endeavor we are in will have common outcomes for each involved. For the Pistons that might mean losing in the first round of the playoffs. For the Lions that may mean not improving at all with their draft picks yesterday. So they are in the upcoming losing season together. We are associated together in the outcome of the event or situation we face with each other. Haley will be graduating from high school next month and she and her class will all be in this together. When we consider the ministry of John the Baptist you cannot do this without also considering the ministry of Jesus with whom he was closely associated. The outcome of his ministry and life is intimately connected to that of Jesus Christ. John’s message of repentance (Mt 3:1) is the same one Jesus proclaimed. John’s ministry was a literal fulfillment of prophecy (Mk 1:2-3) as was Jesus ministry. John was attacked and persecuted because he irritated the religious leadership (Lk 7:30) just as Jesus was. John attracted sinners by calling them to repentance (Mt 3:4-6) the same as Jesus. John was never accountable to anyone or under the authority of anyone except God (Lk 3:2) and so too Jesus. John made disciples (Jn 3:25-36) and so did Jesus. And now John the Baptist becomes the first martyr to die for Christ. Christ Himself would be the next to die and then all the other disciples except John. John and Jesus were in this together. What can we anticipate happens when we are in this together with Jesus?

Observation: 14:1-4



Preaching, teaching, and discipling can give the impression of taking a stand for the truth while actually taking no stand at all. Personal risk comes when specific applications from God’s Word are made to another person’s lifestyle.

(1) Herod is also know as Herod Anitpas (Lk 3:1; Mk 6:14-29; Lk 23:7-12). He is the ruler in the Galilee region. He was one of the surviving sons of Herod the Great—a gentile of Esau, and the same one who authorized the killing of male babies of Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth.

(2) He had an interest in news about Jesus and concluded that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead vs 2. A previous reference to John in Mt 11, when asking if Jesus is the one to come, culminates with this final story that completes Matthew’s story of John. Lk 9:27-28 tell us that Herod heard similar reports from others and was trying to sort out who Jesus was given the many popular options. Herod may have meant ‘this is like John all over again’ or ‘Jesus has the spirit of John’ given all the powers at work thru Christ. Herod acknowledges that John is dead and states clearly that he had killed him Lk 9:27 so it is not literally John.

(3) In fact Herod had John arrested, bound, and thrown into prison—probably a dungeon type place vs 3. John was arrested shortly after Jesus began his ministry and was incarcerated for nearly a year before his execution. The reason for all of this was on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. This woman is notorious and stands in the tradition of Jezebel, Ahab’s wife. (4) John had clearly communicated to Herod that it is not lawful for you to have her as your wife vs 4. Herod had taken her after seducing her away from his brother Philip. He divorced his wife to marry her. She was the daughter of Aristobulus—another half brother of Herod—making her his niece. This was an unlawful marriage (Lev 18:16; 20:21). The Law forbid one to marry his close blood relative. Marrying a niece is specifically forbidden as also taking your brother’s wife. It is not known where or how John first confronted Herod about his unlawful marriage. From Mk 6:18 where it says John had been saying to him suggests John had rebuked Herod and his wife on more than one occasion. So John takes the risk to apply the Law specifically to Herod’s lifestyle. But why did he do this? He was an OT prophet addressing Israel. John did not complain about the immorality of the Roman govt in general but only to those ruling Israel. John was not in the church age.


If you want people to understand your point, illustrate it with real people that everyone knows. John would have little impact if he talked about having someone else’s wife in general. Because he pointed out Herod, he had impact. The Bible was not written to satisfy our curiosity but  to   change  our  lives. The more specific you are with your study and application the more transformed your life and those you teach and confront will become. But the more battles you and others will fight with sin.

Observation: 14:5-12



John did not get into trouble for his preaching until he applied it personally to Herod’s lifestyle.   (1) Both Herod and Herodias wanted to put John to death vs 5. Herod feared the crowds because they viewed John as a prophet—Jesus had called john that and even more than a prophet but a forerunner of Christ 11:9. So John had not been executed. Herod knew John was not guilty of anything and was a holy and righteous man—there was no lawful cause to kill him (Mk 6:20). Herod feared John, his wife, his peers—almost everything and everyone except God.

(2) With Herod’s birthday, Herodias’s daughter, Salome—from Josephus—arouses Herod by dancing for him. So pleased was he that he rashly gave an oath to her for whatever she asked up to half of the kingdom (Mk 6:25) vs 6-7.

(3) The plan was hatched and Salome’s mother asks for the head of John vs 8. This is a rather gruesome request probably prompted by the desire for revenge at the embarrassment form John’s rebuke against their marriage. Just in case Herod might hesitate as he had for nearly a year now, the daughter added right away (Mk 6:25).

(4) Herod was initially sorry for the oath he had made but once again motivated by fear—this time of his dinner guests & the  embarrassment of hearing him back out of his word (a grief not of repentance but the need to keep up appearances)—grants the request vs 9-11. Interesting that even after this Herod continues to enquire about Jesus and kept trying to see Him (Lk 9:9). Jesus would not see him. Jesus did send one message to Herod after receiving a report that Herod wanted to kill him Go and tell that fox Behold I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow and the 3rd day I reach my goal (Lk 13:31-32). Jesus had been affected by the news of John’s beheading vs 13 & withdrew to a lonely place to ponder it. Not until Jesus was sent to Herod by Pontius Pilate after his arrest did Jesus and Herod see each other for the first time (Lk 23:8-9). Herod questioned Jesus at length but Jesus had nothing to say to him. John’s disciples took his body and gave him a decent burial vs 12 & reported all of this to Jesus. Why didn’t Jesus make any move to release John from prison? Or even criticize Herod for beheading him or for having his brother’s wife? Jesus is now introducing a new age & training the 12 to begin that. Correcting the morals of the govt was not part of this new program. Also notice that this is a good example of meekness or controlled strength. Christ had the power to remove Herod but stay focused on His mission. John’s imprisonment & death were part of the program of God. John was not a victim of Herods wife but a part of Gods plan.  Application:  The more specific you are the more trouble you will be in but the better you will communicate. He had an impact but he was in prison and beheaded too. Our job is to personally and specifically apply the Word of God to the lifestyle’s of those we disciple and serve. Just don’t expect people to like it tho they can be changed by it. Never avoid personally applying the Word to people’s lives because you fear them or their response or the trouble it may cause. Both John and Jesus applied the Word this way and some were transformed and changed and others rebelled and caused trouble. Expect the same but do not change the application of the truth when it gets you into trouble, politically, socially or personally.