The apostles prayed for boldness (Acts 4:29-30), but the Lord didn’t give them boldness just to speak His word boldly, but to live His word boldly. Prior to this prayer, Jesus’ disciples scattered after he was arrested. And they all forsook Him and fled (Mark 14:50). Peter denied ever knowing Jesus – three times (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke 22; John 18).
Some believers call it persecution when someone talks about them or doesn’t like them, but there were men of God that were threatened, tortured, stoned, sawn in half, beaten and imprisoned because they did miracles in the name of Jesus and taught in His name. Let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name (Acts 4:17). Despite the warnings and threats, the apostles kept speaking of what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20). And even after being beaten or sent to prison, they would rejoice and continue to preach the Lord Jesus Christ.
…and when they had called the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ (Acts 5:40-42).
The enemy wants us to be afraid because when a person walks in fear, it’s hard for them to walk in power, love and a sound mind – and it is these three things that defeat him (2 Timothy 1:7). Fear has torment with worry, troubles and cares. Fear will even cause you to become silent.
One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision: ‘Do not be afraid; keep on speaking, do not be silent’ (Acts 18:9, NIV).
John the Baptist preached repentance. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3:2). And he didn’t care who you were, where you came from or what your title or position was. John the Baptist approached a king (Herod) and told him that what he was doing was wrong. It is not lawful (right) for you to have your brother’s wife (Mark 6:18; Leviticus 20:21). Although Herod and his wife wanted to kill John, he didn’t because he respected the anointing on his life so he placed him in prison instead.
And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet (Matthew 14:5).
Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him, but she could not because Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he continually kept him safe. When he heard John [speak], he was very perplexed, but he enjoyed listening to him (Mark 6:19-20, AMP).
This wasn’t a situation where the surviving brother married his brother’s childless widow so that they may have a child to carry the deceased brother’s name (Deuteronomy 25:5). Herodias was not a widow and she had a daughter. This relationship started out as an adulterous affair.
John had provoked Herod by naming his relationship with Herodias “adultery” (Matthew 14:4, MSG).
John denounced Herod’s marriage to her as adulterous (VOICE).
John the Baptist had now become an enemy to Herodias because he preached the truth to her. He preached something she didn’t want to hear. His message was a call to repent or change, but she didn’t want to change. Maybe John wasn’t telling them to divorce, but to repent for what they had done and to go back to the people they hurt and apologize.
God wasn’t condemning them. He wasn’t trying to humiliate or embarrass them, but people who get easily offended don’t really understand how much God loves them. God didn’t have to send a prophet to Herod and Herodias, but because He is longsuffering and doesn’t want any of us to perish, but instead come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), he sent John.
Herodias knew her husband wasn’t going to kill John so she waited for an opportunity to kill him. And when a convenient day was come (Mark 6:21). That day was Herod’s birthday. He invited very high officials to help him celebrate. During the celebration, Herodias’ daughter danced for him. Maybe you never thought about this, but what kind of dance did she perform that “pleased” her uncle/daddy (and all those men in attendance? And out of excitement and a good feeling, he promised to give her whatever she asked.
After he made this promise to his niece/daughter, she went to her mom to ask what she should she ask for. And she said, The head of John the Baptist (Mark 6:23). Herodias was led by the spirit of Jezebel. And unfortunately, she was leading, teaching and training her daughter to live and behave just like her. According to Revelation 2:20, Jezebel seduces God’s servants to commit fornication. (Her job is to bring down those whom God has exalted and to defile that which is holy and without blemish, leaving them with a spot or wrinkle).
This is the spirit that told Herodias that it was alright to be with her brother-in-law. This is the same spirit that ‘used’ Herodias’ daughter to dance before those men and to kill a prophet. The enemy (in Herodias) knew he couldn’t touch John the Baptist, but all he needed was a body, a willing vessel – someone ignorant and easily deceived – to carry out his plan.
The enemy wasn’t just after John the Baptist because he was a messenger or a prophet, but he wanted to silence him because he was ‘the voice’. He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord (John 1:23).
This is what God has called us to be – the voice! And He doesn’t want us to be afraid of their faces (Jeremiah 1:8). I know sometimes we don’t speak up because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we don’t want anyone to be mad with us, but what we don’t understand is that sometimes our silence is mistaken as agreement. When you refuse to speak against it, they will think that you must be for it. ‘Speaking the truth in love’ doesn’t mean that the truth won’t hurt your feelings or that a person is supposed to speak to you in a sweet, soft voice, but it does mean that someone loves you enough to tell you the truth.
Let me be clear because I don’t want anyone to misinterpret or misunderstand what I’m saying. This blog isn’t about being bold enough to tell people about themselves. This is about taking a bold stand for righteousness. This is about being holy because God is holy.
I remember one day making a comment at work (that wasn’t nice) and the coworker who heard it, laughed, but then she said, ‘I wasn’t expecting that to come out of your mouth’. You talk about conviction. I had to repent. We may not quote scriptures or carry a bible around at work, but people are watching me and they are watching you, too. They know there is something different about you. They are watching how you live and if Jesus could see the faith of the men who brought the paralytic to Him through the roof of a house, then people can see our faith. They may make fun of you or distance themselves from you because of what and Who you believe, but don’t take it personal. They are not distancing themselves from you, but they are distancing themselves from the Light. For every wrongdoer hates the Light, and does not come to the Light [but shrinks from it] for fear that his [sinful, worthless] activities will be exposed and condemned (John 3:20).
I think about the many times I compromised truth just so that people wouldn’t be angry with me or in hopes that they would like me, and you know what? All those things I did to ‘keep the peace’, gave me no peace. I’m not telling you that fear will not come, but speak anyway – and not just through word only because sometimes the Word you live speaks better than the Word you speak.
Let your life speak. Do not be silent.
[Reference scriptures: Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29]