What Jesus Did! 'Peer Fear' — Matthew 14:1-5

Friday, July 9, 2021

When Herod Antipas, the ruler of Galilee, heard about Jesus, he said to his advisers, "This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead! That is why he can do such miracles."

For Herod had arrested and imprisoned John as a favor to his wife Herodias (the former wife of Herod's brother Philip). John had been telling Herod, "It is against God's law for you to marry her." Herod wanted to kill John, but he was afraid of a riot, because all the people believed John was a prophet.

— Matthew 14:1-5 NLT

Key Thought

We sometimes talk about peer pressure and its power over teenagers. But if we look at ourselves, I think we'll find that adults are at least as vulnerable to peer pressure as teenagers. Just look at how we fall into line with fashion clothing, cologne, cars, neighborhoods, political opinions, morals, and hairstyles. Even our leaders seem to check which way the wind is blowing and gather the latest poll data before they will announce their opinions on any given subject. Today's verses reveal Herod's fear and weakness. He is afraid John is risen. He was afraid of John because of his adulterous relationship with his brother's wife —an incestuous relationship according to the Jewish law — and John's willingness to speak the truth. He was afraid to kill John because of the people's fascination with John. (As Matthew 14:6-12 shows, he had John killed in spite of his fear.) Herod is not a statesman ruler; he's a vulnerable reactor to political winds. We, too, forfeit our right to be called people of integrity if we cave in to the pressure of those around us and abdicate our values, principles, and beliefs to avoid scrutiny. No matter what accomplishments we may have, they are worthless because they are never enough if we fear losing recognition for them, losing the support of others, or losing the notoriety of our achievement. As Jesus disciples, recognition that nothing can separate from God's love and that he gave his only Son to adopt us into his family (Romans 8:15-17, 38-39; John 3:16-17) should be more than enough to validate our value to God and dispel any tendency toward fear.

Today's Prayer

Holy God and Divine Father, forgive me for the times that I have backed down from my convictions because of peer pressure. Give me the Spirit of power and boldness to stand for you not only when it is easy, but also when it is difficult. Help me be a person of proven integrity and faithfulness. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • 2 Timothy 1:6-10
  • Mark 8:34-38
  • Romans 1:16

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Illustration

Illustration of Matthew 14:1-5 NLT — "This must be John the Baptist raised from the dead! That is why he can do such miracles."   ——   "It is against God's law for you to marry her."

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.