James Foley, in the opinion of ISIS, had to be killed. John the Baptist, in the opinion of Herodias, had to be killed. He had opposed her in her latest marriage to the man who was King. This man (her uncle) was far more promising that her earlier man (her uncle). She and her family were the born leaders and should not be opposed. For her, the imprisonment of John the Baptist was only the start; she would see him dead.
One remarkable thing about John was the fact that he had called everybody to be sorry for their sins and to turn back to the LORD God. Even more remarkable was that he was unequivocal in saying repeatedly when talking about Jesus, “He has come from above; He is above all.” Pointing to Jesus he said: “Look, see, this is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
What’s it like in prison when your enemy has total authority over you and hates you? The media have tried to figure that out regarding James Foley. We’re privileged to have a paragraph devoted to that subject in Matthew’s biography of Jesus of Nazareth written around AD 60. See bold above.
Samuel Johnson famously wrote, “Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.” Matthew, Jesus’ biographer, reports that, in prison, John’s mind concentrated on what was for him, the one key issue.
He sent his friends to Jesus seeking confirmation, “Are you REALLY the one who is to come, the Son of God, or must we look for another?”
What do you think that Jesus would do so as to confirm to John the Baptist, in prison and anticipating his beheading, that he, Jesus, was indeed the Son of Almighty God? Would he do a great miracle?
What happened was that Jesus sent the messengers back to John in prison and said, “Go and tell John what you see and what you hear of me: the blind receive their sight; the lame walk, lepers are cleansed; the deaf hear; the dead are raised up; and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. Truly blessed is the one who is not put off by me.”
Not put off by me? What does that mean? If John the Baptist in his closing days in prison wanted proof that Jesus was the Son of God, he was to note well that Jesus was totally different from every other world leader. His power was in favour of the blind, the lame, the unclean, the deaf and the poor.