In Defense Of Marriage

Today marks the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist and Forerunner. From the Gospel according to St. Mark:

14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Eli′jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero′di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Hero′di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

(Mark 6:14-29)

There is much that the life, and death, of St. John the Baptist can teach us.

First, marriage is a sacred thing. To defend God’s intentions and laws regarding marriage is something that is worth dying for.

Second, Mark’s Gospel tells us that John was having a positive influence on Herod. Despite what John was saying about Herod’s illicit union, Herod was glad to hear the Baptist speak. Clearly there was some part of him that was responding to God’s message. Unfortunately, his choice of “associates” meant that he never had the chance to continue to hear and to repent.

Third, we can see the danger of wine and women to a man’s senses. Herod never wanted John dead, despite what the Baptist said. But those two constant haunts of man led him to make a rash vow he felt compelled to honor. Important lesson for my male readers: wine + women = folly.

Fourth, we can see here that women are just as capable of wickedness as men. It was Herodias, not Herod, who wanted John dead. She was the instigator of this evil. And her daughter went right along with it.

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7 Comments

Filed under Marriage, The Church, Women

7 responses to “In Defense Of Marriage

  1. Neguy

    Great post.

  2. MK

    Good post. Whenever I read this bible story I think of Henry VIII.

    [DG: Yup. A Renaissance version of Herod, he was.]

    Christian marriage is always under attack, and will remain so until Jesus comes again. <10% of Christians accept the traditional teaching of Jesus on marriage. Even his apostles squirmed: if that’s the teaching, it is better not to marry. And we see the same squirming from the pope and bishops today. It’s pretty obvious that were the Church not guided by the Holy Spirit, they would have given up on divorce and birth control a thousand years ago.

  3. “First, marriage is a sacred thing. To defend God’s intentions and laws regarding marriage is something that is worth dying for.”

    It’s up to men, whether we like it or not, to defend this position. A tremendous task, it is.

  4. Tigersault (formerly A Visitor)

    The fact that there was part of Herod that responded positively to John’s message is proof of what we already know: every man is created in the image of God and he was listening to his conscience: the voice of God speaking to him. Good post.

  5. @ MK

    It’s pretty obvious that were the Church not guided by the Holy Spirit, they would have given up on divorce and birth control a thousand years ago.

    Yes. I agree wholeheartedly. One need only look to the East to see what would have happened otherwise.

    @ Major Styles

    It’s up to men, whether we like it or not, to defend this position. A tremendous task, it is.

    An understatement, if there ever was one.

    @ Tigersault

    Yes, no matter how steeped in evil a man might be, there is still a part of him that yearns for God.

  6. DG:

    “Important lesson for my male readers: wine + women = folly.”

    Great post DG.
    So few will present these facts as they are. Herod was tragic example of: “wine + women = folly”.
    Also Herodias’ daughter would have been better off living with her natural father than with her mother. She was messed up by her mother, like so many…. [sigh]

  7. MK

    DQ, few will present these facts as they are.

    I watched your vid on divorce. For a good explanation of the traditional (like, 2000 years) Christian view of divorce, see this link

    DG, One need only look to the East to see what would have happened otherwise

    I think RC would be a lot worse off. Traditional faiths who rely upon tradition (say EO or Amish) hold out for longer. RC would look far more like Anglicans today. Just imagine the pathetic US bishops, for example. BETA.

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