John the Baptist Goes to Prison – Luke 3: 19-20

In studying Luke’s account of John the Baptist, this week we find John seemingly being held up in his life’s purpose – when he is sent to prison for his position on Herod Antipas’ marriage to his brother’s wife, and his own niece, Herodias. Her agenda became seeing John die. Only because she didn’t appreciate John’s admonishment of their situation. The Herods were a murderous and deceitful family. Rebuking a tyrannical Roman official who could imprison and execute him was extremely dangerous yet that is what John did. He had no fear.

The Word says, “But when John rebuked Herod because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all of the other things he had done, Herod added this to them all. He locked John up in prison.” (Luke 3:19-20)

Interestingly, prior to these verses, Luke is rolling along telling us how great an impact John is having on those who are listening to him prophesy about the coming Messiah. Then out of nowhere, Luke flashes forward to John getting arrested… perhaps to drive home the political climate of the day where John is having an impact on the region. 

He’s gathering his own disciples… not intentionally but because the people he’s encountering and sharing God’s truth with are resonating with his message. There’s an excitement around him that has to do with Israel not having seen a prophet for more than 400 years. It was widely believed that when the prophecy reappeared, the Messiah would come with it. Many were sure that the eagerly awaited age of the Messiah had come. Some, in fact, thought John himself might be the Messiah the Old Testament prophets spoke of. They knew John’s baptism with water symbolized the washing away of sins. The ancients were lining up for it. His baptism, coordinated with his message of repentance and reformation, made it obvious he was more than just a man of God. 

John was indeed a great prophet, ordained for purpose since before his birth by God, and he was developing a following… which can always be a threat to rulers. 

So, though Herod Antipas, second in command in Galilee, knew that John was holy and just, he ordered the popular one arrested and John’s message was shut down. 

One might argue that, as a prophet, John was potentially aware of his own fate and, rather than shrink from it, as a true man of God he did what he was called to say and do. No matter what. He loved the Lord and his life reflected that completely. Luke’s abrupt stop within John’s story to point to his astounding courage and commitment to mission is something to meditate on as we build toward next week’s message of the baptism of Jesus. Clearly, John’s supreme character was important.

We shall return to John the Baptist’s fate when Luke circles back to his story later. 

Meanwhile, let us pray daily for the wars going on in the world. I am so saddened by them. Let us remember all those that sit unjustly in prisons right now… as hostages, as innocents trapped in war zones they cannot escape because of men with agendas. Let us pray for cease fires and for our loving Lord’s will to be done. ๐Ÿ™

Praying for each of you and your needs today and always.๐Ÿ™โค๏ธ

Poppa B.