Herodias had desired the death of John the Baptist for some time but was unable to see her desires accomplished. Herod stood in the way. And so she waited….for an opportune day. When it came, she was ready. Herod had thrown a birthday party for himself. A feast, certainly accompanied with enough drinking to dull good judgment. The important, influential and prominent men were in attendance. So when he gave his word to Herodias’ daughter to give her whatever she asked, and she asked for that one thing that he hadn’t really wanted to part with, he was put in a difficult position. The Bible makes it clear that because of those who sat with him he complied with her request. To do otherwise would be to damage his reputation. He didn’t really want to kill John, but he preferred to maintain the good opinions of men.
Our adversary, the devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8). He is waiting for an opportune day. A day when circumstances have come together to make the possibility of compromise optimal. Most days we realize that the benefit of obeying God is always greater than the cost. But then there is that opportune day when the cost seems greater than what we are willing to pay.
In myself, everyday is an opportune day for sin to overpower me. But in Him, Jesus, I have everything I need for life and godliness. If I will only stay in Him, every day will be an opportune day….not for sin, but for victory, peace and a God-glorifying life in the Spirit.
During Old Testament times it was a common custom that when someone was unable to pay their debts, they might sell their liberty and become a bondservant of their debtors, and thus work off their debt. In order to protect the bondservant, laws were given to prevent unfair treatment or excessively long periods of service. Exodus 21:1-6 provides for the release of a bondservant in the 7th year of service. This passage also details the process to be followed in the event that the servant decides to stay with his master after his term of service has expired:
Now these are the judgments which you shall set before them:If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing.If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him.If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.But if the servant plainly says, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’then his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
It seems so unusual that anyone would voluntarily choose to remain under a master when they could choose their independence instead. Who would make such a choice? The answer appears obvious – no one. And truly there are none among this sinful race who possess within themselves the desire to make such a choice, even when that Master is the Lord of glory.
We did not love Him. We did not want to stay with Him and serve Him. We would not be pierced for Him, so He was pierced for us.
In His piercing He plainly declared His love for us
In His piercing He promised to stay with us
In His piercing He declared that He would serve as our High Priest forever.
The servant would not be pierced for the Master, so the Master was pierced for the servant…..so that we could love Him, so that we could serve Him, so that we could stay with Him forever.