I don't feel like I have much to say about this morning's chapter. As I read it, it seems to me that it is divided up into two main parts. The first is the extremely sordid episode of Herodias' daughter dancing for Herod. She asks for John the Baptist's head on a platter, which leads to one of the most striking images in the Bible, and one that I found fascinating as a boy in Sunday School. This morning I'm struck by how John, whom Jesus basically said was the greatest man ever to live, was made the victim of this utterly sordid, really disgusting episode in Herod's life. The banality of of it, the casual way Herod throws away John's life (with a twinge of regret, apparently, but still...) reminds me that even the most spiritual people are not immune to the reality that we live in a world that is opposed to the kingdom of God and we don't get to escape just because we're on God's side.
The other thing that strikes me is more cheerful--God's generous provision. Jesus sees and responds to the needs of the people He sees around Him. He teaches them the things they need to hear, which is something I kind of naturally expect. It seems like Jesus would provide spiritual teaching. But Jesus also provides for their physical needs by feeding the five thousand. Additionally, when the disciples need rescue from a storm, Jesus shows up and provides what they need. I find it hard these days to always be resting in God's provision, so much of life and society seems uncertain. Jesus steps in and asks me to have faith in Him, and I am going to try to practice that today.