The way you leave this world can say something about the life you live and the message that you give. If this is the case then how very interesting St John the Baptist is!
We all know the history of St John. We know how he was imprisoned for challenging the validity of the marriage between Herodias and Herod Antipas (all to do with Herodias divorcing her first husband Herod II - the really tricky thing about this period is that almost everyone was called Herod). And we know also that the aged Herod Antipas was tricked into killing St John by the arousing dance of Herodias’ daughter Salome. Salome was the daughter of Herodias’ pervious husband Herod II (are you still with me?).
So why is St John a modern prophet?
Well, he died for two reasons. First because he dared to challenge the morality of the court which said that anything goes, that you can ignore the law of God and just do exactly what you want. St John stood up for the truth in the area of personal morality. He cried out against easy going challenges to marriage.
And second his head was chopped off because of an old man’s pride and lust. Herod was so inflamed with desire at his step daughter’s sordid dancing that he, with an old man’s enflamed passion, rashly promised her anything. And this is where the pride comes in. What was a stupidly spoken word, became something Herod couldn’t get out of. He had said it in public. And he had to keep to it.
St John is a modern prophet because he was killed for standing up to a morally terrible situation and as a result of a young girl’s gyrations and her step fathers perverted pride.
And St John cries out in the wilderness both then and today.