“I can’t believe he wants to hear more. And he doesn’t seem all too annoyed by what I have to say. He must really be listening. He must really want to know the truth . . .”
The anticipation grows for hours as you sit in the dark, silent cell you’ve come to call “home.” Your hopes for release have turned to hopes for this regular visitor of yours. Rather, the one who keeps asking for visits from you.
The governor. Yes, he landed you in jail in the first place. His wife didn’t like what you said, so something had to be done. Yet he was intrigued by your words and allowed you to keep your head and your voice.
And so, believe it or not, you hold regular conferences with the governor. While prisoner.
Yesterday’s visit only confirmed what you have been seeing. Surely the governor’s heart is open. This is most certainly the work of God.
You’re excited for the conversations to continue. Maybe he will one day turn from his wickedness to follow the Truth. And maybe one day soon!
Unbeknownst to you, a scene in the banquet hall above holds a very different outcome. While you wait and pray eagerly for victory, the governor entertains himself and his important guests with the gross immorality that has quickly consumed him. Setting aside the soul-freeing truths his heart longed to know, he grasps for temporary pleasures, power, and reputation.
And somehow it comes back to you. Your life is at stake as a result of his complete and utter carelessness.
But like the young ruler who walked away, sorry that he could not give up earthly wealth though offered eternal joys, the governor, too, sighed deeply and bowed his head in sorrow. He couldn’t come to your rescue this time. The pressure was too great. He wanted his sin more.
Your cell door opened, not to the summons of your eager governor-friend, but to the hand of an executioner. You had mere seconds to consider the tragedy of the day.
But if you could look back, you would see that the tragedy wasn’t in the head on the platter. It wasn’t in the sorrow of the friends who came to retrieve your body. It wasn’t in the long hours, days, and weeks spent in prison that suddenly seemed futile. It wasn’t in suffering. And it wasn’t in death. For therein lies victory.
No, the tragedy of the day happened in that banquet hall.
Where a naive, helpless young girl was used by her own mother in a scandalous, murderous scheme.
Where all decency was lost, and where numerous men of great power stood idly by and watched the show.
Where a man who knew the key to eternal pleasures chose instead to waste away his days on cheap imitation and to kill a man for the sake of his own name.
This is the tragedy you would see had you been given a glimpse into the banquet hall.
But you weren’t there. You were still in that cell praying for victory.
The above account is a retelling of Mark 6:14-29 from the presumed perspective of the prisoner.
[image credit: pixabay.com]