Matthew 14:1-12 The Death Of A Conscience

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Matthew, New Testament

I. Prior To Meeting John, Herod’s Conscience Was Unchallenged

A. Who Was This Herod?

1. Who was this Herod? We read about many Herods in the N.T.
2. Herod The Great- ordered death of 1000’s of babies after Jesus’ birth

a. Herod the Great- two of his sons, who were half brothers…

i. Herod Philip I- Herodias’ 1st husband
ii. Herod Antipas (the Tetrarch over Galilee)- Herodias’ 2nd husband

b. Herodias was the grand-daughter of Herod the Great

i. She actually married her uncle- Herod Philip I
ii. She divorced him and married her other uncle: Herod Antipas

c. Herod Antipas came from a long line of wicked people who sinned viciously

B. Prior To Meeting John The Baptist

1. Wrongly divorced his own wife and sent her away to her homeland
2. Seduced his brother’s wife, and then married her
3. He did many other evil things also Luke 3:19
4. He was a ruler, and unopposed in his sin. He lived as he pleased

II. His Conscience Is Confronted Matthew 14:3, 4

A. Herod Rebuked By John The Baptist Luke 3:19

1. Herod was unopposed by man until John came along
2. John rebuked Herod for his sins (tense of the verb indicates repeated rebukes)
3. Rebuked- to convict, refute with a suggestion of shame, to bring to the light, to expose, to find fault with, correct by word, to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove, to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation
4. Previously no one rebuked Herod Antipas. His conscience didn’t bother him
5. Now his conscience is pricked. He is confronted. What will he do?

B. What Is A Conscience?

1. Kent Hughes- “it is the warning light that goes off in your soul.”
2. “It’s a Walkie-Talkie in your heart by which God speaks to you.”
3. “It’s a moral beeper that goes off when you do wrong.”
4. Turn to Romans 2:14, 15 Your conscience either accuses you or excuses you

III. Herod Resists His Conscience

A. He Is Moved By His Own Sinfulness Matt. 14:3a, 5

1. His initial response is to silence the voice of truth
2. He doesn’t like what John has said, so he tries to shut him up

B. He Is Moved By The Pressure Of His Wife Matt. 14: 3b

1. He is greatly influenced by this woman he has wrongly brought into his life
2. She wants John shut up also, and wants him killed
3. Initially, neither one of them wants to hear the truth

C. He Is Influenced By Public Opinion Matt. 14:5

1. He doesn’t want to make the wrong political move
2. He needs to keep peace in the region

IV. Conscience Awakened, But He Doesn’t Change Mark 6:19, 20

A. Herod Begins To Visit & Listen To John; “He Heard Him Gladly”
B. Herod Begins To Realize That John Is Just & Holy
C. Herod Begins To Fear John (Have Respect & Reverence)
D. Herod Seems To Be Affected By John

1. NKJ- And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.
2. NAS- “…he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him.”
3. Herod’s heart/mind was touched by John’s preaching.
4. He may have even changed some of his behavior. (He did many things)

E. Herod Now Protects John From His Wife
F. Though Moved, Interested, Intrigued, There Is No Change In Herod

1. He recognizes holiness and righteousness in John
2. He is touched by John’s words & protects him
3. But Herod never surrenders to the truth of God. He respects but rejects John
4. He admired holiness, but loved sin. Herod liked John but he never loved Jesus.

V. Herod Violates His Conscience Matt. 14:6-11

A. Herod Has Ignored The Truth Of God
B. He Is Still Driven By His Carnal Passions
C. His Sin Puts Him In A Difficult Circumstance

1. He is probably intoxicated, and has lost his sense of reason
2. He indulges himself in the sensual dancing of his step daughter
3. He makes a foolish vow because he had ignored his conscience
4. He then regrets his foolish vow, & is sorry, but not sorry enough to repent
5. Because of pride/peer pressure, he violates his conscience & commits murder

VI. A Tormented Conscience Matt. 14:1, 2

A. Herod Is Sure That John Has Been Raised From The Dead
B. Others Think Elijah/Other Prophet; But Herod Is Haunted Mark 6:15
C. “This is John, whom I beheaded”…emphatic declaration, but no change

VII. Eventually, Herod’s Conscience Appears Dead Turn to Luke 23:6-12

A. Herod Meets Jesus, But Wants Entertainment, Not Truth Or Change
B. Any Regret Or True Desire For Change Has Disappeared
C. Jesus Didn’t Answer Herod; Herod Didn’t Want Truth, Only Tricks

VIII. How To Have A Clear Conscience Hebrews 9:14; 10:19, 22