But when John rebuked Herod the tetrarch because of his marriage to Herodias, his brother’s wife, and all the other evil things he had done, Herod added this to them all: He locked John up in prison.
Most of the time we should love, encourage, and give people hope, but there’s a time to rebuke. Here Luke mentions using power to commit a sexual offense for which one is not sorry for. Many families shove these offenses into a locked storage closet allowing the perpetrator freedom to repeat sexual crimes knowing that he or she will not be accused. If this has happened in your family, I urge you to rebuke because not only should you not be the victim of a heinous crime, but if you don’t rebuke, in the future your sibling, child, niece, nephew, or cousin will also become the victim. Luke is aware that sexual offenses cause more pain than murder. Herod had murdered, but Luke wrapped those offenses in with all the other evil things he had done.
Remember Jesus did not rebuke the prostitute at the well or throw the first stone at the adulteress because they were willing to repent after they knew His love. Herod, on the other hand, was a leader, and should have been setting a good example. Instead, he murdered and slept with his brother’s wife. Jesus and John also rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees, again leaders, who claimed to be God’s children but were keeping people away from God because of their hypocrisy. God tells us in Matthew 5:23-24 that we should not be in church offering gifts to God when there is someone we need to apologize to. We should apologize first and then come to church to offer gifts.
John chose to rebuke the above evils at all cost, and Herod chose to add to his evilness by locking John up in prison. John knew there would likely be severe consequences for his words, but he was called to show us not only the importance of repentance, but the importance of rebuke in cases of sexual assault and hypocrisy in the church.
God, help us to rebuke others only when love doesn’t work, when hypocrites in the church are driving people away from you, or when sexual crimes are committed.