Home > Reading > Daily Reading – March 23, 2022

6:17 For Herod himself had given orders to have John arrested, and he had him bound and put in prison. He did this because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, whom he had married. 18 For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, 20 because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man. When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.

– Mark 6:17-20 NIV

In those days when John the Baptist started his ministry, the entire region of Judea was full of morally corrupt political, religious, economic and public leaders. That region was controlled by the Roman Empire, since the Roman Empire was ruled by Caesar from a distance, the emperor was sending all kinds of appointees to govern various territories. In the middle of this sociopolitical arrangement, the entire social fabric was open for unrestrained moral corruption.

In the middle of such a corrupt socio-economic dispensation, John the Baptist started his mission and ministry calling people to repentance and Baptism. He was confronting whatever he saw head on without any fear and without any restraint. He was not discriminating or categorizing and classifying people based on their status, race, color or even their political office. He was confronting anyone who was living a life that was dishonoring to God, including Herod. When he saw moral corruption in his marriage arrangement, he spoke against it boldly and openly. That is what we call speaking the truth to power!

Today we live in the middle of a morally corrupt society. We see the rules and Laws of God being ignored, neglected and disobeyed to a greater extent. The Word of God and all its instruction are undermined by so many individuals and institutions — including the Church. However, speaking the truth to power and confronting such a morally decadent social fabric is a very costly adventure. As we see in this story, it cost John his precious life. But still, if John wanted to avoid this, there was no way around this public and openly known incident other than confronting it head on and glorifying the name of God. May God help us and give us His grace to be bold, open and outgoing when it comes to dealing with these kinds of moral decay and obvert disobedience to God.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father we pray that without You we have no courage or boldness to stand up and confront what we see is wrong. But when the fire of the Holy Spirit is burning within our bones, there is no way that we can bypass it quietly or silently. When we see things that will not glorify Your name help us to point it out and call people to repentance. Therefore, today we pray that You give us your powerful grace and fill us with the fire of the Holy Spirit to stand up and confront whatever is not glorifying You in our culture and in our society. By doing so, help us to honor and glorify the name of Jesus Christ who went to the cross, died, was buried and raised on the third day to give us victorious life over everything. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Devotion written by the Rev. Dr. Gemechis D. Buba

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After a challenging year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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