Peer Pressure

Have you ever seen this? I caught it this morning. Check out Mark 6:14-29. This is the NLT.

The Death of John the Baptist
14 Herod Antipas, the king, soon heard about Jesus, because everyone was talking about him. Some were saying,* “This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead. That is why he can do such miracles.” 15 Others said, “He’s the prophet Elijah.” Still others said, “He’s a prophet like the other great prophets of the past.”
16 When Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has come back from the dead.”
17 For Herod had sent soldiers to arrest and imprison John as a favor to Herodias. She had been his brother Philip’s wife, but Herod had married her. 18 John had been telling Herod, “It is against God’s law for you to marry your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias bore a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But without Herod’s approval she was powerless, 20 for Herod respected John; and knowing that he was a good and holy man, he protected him. Herod was greatly disturbed whenever he talked with John, but even so, he liked to listen to him.
21 Herodias’s chance finally came on Herod’s birthday. He gave a party for his high government officials, army officers, and the leading citizens of Galilee. 22 Then his daughter, also named Herodias,* came in and performed a dance that greatly pleased Herod and his guests. “Ask me for anything you like,” the king said to the girl, “and I will give it to you.” 23 He even vowed, “I will give you whatever you ask, up to half my kingdom!”
24 She went out and asked her mother, “What should I ask for?”
Her mother told her, “Ask for the head of John the Baptist!”
25 So the girl hurried back to the king and told him, “I want the head of John the Baptist, right now, on a tray!”
26 Then the king deeply regretted what he had said; but because of the vows he had made in front of his guests, he couldn’t refuse her. 27 So he immediately sent an executioner to the prison to cut off John’s head and bring it to him. The soldier beheaded John in the prison, 28 brought his head on a tray, and gave it to the girl, who took it to her mother. 29 When John’s disciples heard what had happened, they came to get his body and buried it in a tomb.

The fist thing highlighted in blue is king Herod’s true feelings about John the Baptist.  Here we have Herod who married his brother’s wife.  John warned him that it wasn’t right, but he went and did it anyway.  Because of this, Herod’s wife/sister-in-law didn’t like John and wanted him killed.  But, because of Herod’s respect & fear of John, he only had him arrested.  What harm could he do in jail, right?

The second thing is the promise he made.  Hid daughter performed at his party, and everyone loved her, so as a reward he promised to give her ANYTHING she wanted.  There’s another message here about making idle promises to your kids, but that’s another blog :-).  But anyway, Herod is just thinking his daughter is going to ask for a pony, a life-size Barbie mansion, or maybe even a large sum of money.  No harm in that, right?  But lil Herodias (named after her mother) was stumped and didn’t know what to ask for, so she went and asked her mother.  There’s yet another message here about getting advice from someone who is bitter and/or has a vengeful heart.  So, mama Herodias seeing an opportunity here to get what she had been wanting all of these years took advantage her daughter’s blessing for her own satisfaction.

Finally, we see the peer pressure.  Can’t you just see this played out in your head?  Here Herod is sitting at the head of the table, or maybe he’s on his throne, with all of his head honchos around him and his daughter (probably with the puppy eyes!) in front of him.  NOW he’s reviewing what actually just took place!  Hindsight is always 20/20!  If I were writing the script for this movie, here’s how this part would go:

Scene:  Herod sitting on the throne.  Camera pans the audience of Herod’s men, passes in front of lil Herodias, and ends on Herod with the “uh oh, I think I just messed up,” face.  Voice-over Herod’s thoughts while showing him sweating bullets and really struggling with this decision.  Fade in occasional shots of lil Herodias with the “please daddy” look and expressions on audience faces of “you better not let that girl down” and “awwww man, is he really gonna do it?”

Voice-over Herod’s thoughts:  Oh no!  Why in the world did I even promise her ANYTHING she wants??  I should have just told her that I would give her that Barbie Palace she’s been wanting.  Heck, she’s not even old enough to make her own decisions!!  That darn wife of mine!!  Always trying to get what she wants!  Awww man…I really don’t wanna let baby girl down, but I made a promise in front of all my boys!  I couldn’t possibly rescind on it now.  But MAN…I can’t kill John the Baptist!!  He’s a man of God, and I actually believe the stuff he says.  I mean, won’t God come after me if I do thisI can’t have GOD after me!  But, if I don’t do it, my wife and daughter will hate me.  My boys will dog me out and have jokes for days!  I can’t live like that.  Ok, God, I’m gonna do this, but you know my heart!  I made a promise.  You said we should keep our promises, right?”

Herod:  Of course, darling.  You can have whatever you like.

Dude…did you see all that?!  Peer pressure is a BEAST!  Peer pressure without a strong sense of self and deep root convictions will have you going against the very core of your beliefs.  When you don’t have a strong sense of self (AKA high self-esteem) you will allow anyone and everyone define who you are–I would know!  I think the 21st century term for that is “co-dependent.”  This is why it is SOO important to allow GOD to define you so that way when peer pressure comes, or other situations where you are tempted to go against what you believe, you will be able to stand up against the unpopular opinion, people’s disapproving thoughts/looks/words, and/or ridicule of others.  If you do not know who you (and Who’s you are–IF you are a Christian) that crap gets to you and colors your perspective.  It shapes your actions.  Don’t let others mandate what happens in your life.  Live for an audience of One because He is the only one that matters!

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