Commentary on the Gospel of

Gregory Ekene Ezeokeke, cmf

Some literary works have some episodes that engage our attention in a most profound manner. One of such episodes in the Gospel of Mark is the martyrdom of John the Baptist which strikes one both with its engaging plot and the scale of violence involved. Historically, John the Baptist was an important figure of the first century and his death, as a result, would most likely have been remembered almost as vividly as that of Jesus Christ. His death reminds us of a number of things. First ancient monarchs were known to wield absolute power that challenging them would mean almost a certain death. John’s death through the instrumentality of a monarch shows that different generations have produced men and women who, in spite of the inherent dangers of speaking the truth, nevertheless prophetically say it.

Our history, our times and our generation are calling us to become prophetic men and women who call out abuse of power and privilege, even in spite of the dangers involved. Unlike John the Baptist, even the least charismatic people among us today now have the means to call out evil and are capable of acquiring a voice through the social media space or through other means that science and technology has put at our disposal. Secondly, the death of John reminds us of the need to combat the large-scale differences that exist within social classes. Herodias was able to plot John’s death simply because she found herself within the proximity of those who mattered in her society. We should all endeavor to build a society where everyone matters and where the real power exists with those who stand on the side of truth. A society that does not appreciate the voice and the presence of its most vulnerable remains fundamentally weak since a chain is as strong as its weakest link.


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