1. About this time King Herod was hearing reports about Jesus, and about the remarkable things that were occurring around Him, and because of Him.
2. So he told his officials, "I think that this man must be the re-incarnation of John the Baptist! The man that we executed has come back from the dead in the form of this Jesus, and that's apparently why He has the power to work these miracles!"
3. Herod was very aware of John, the Forerunner, because earlier he had arrested John, and had had him chained and put in prison.
4. He did this because John, outspoken as he was, had told him, "It isn't right or appropriate for you to take Herodias, the wife of your brother Philip."
5. Herod wanted to kill John for daring to confront him in this way, but the people thought that John was a prophet, and Herod was afraid of what they might do if he touched him.
6. But when Herod's birthday came, the teenage daughter of Herodias danced for the guests at his celebration, particularly directing her movements toward her uncle/stepfather. And Herod was seduced by the dance, and was greatly pleased by it…
7. …so much, in fact, that in an outburst of passionate reaction to her, he publicly swore to give her anything she wanted.
8. But the girl's mother, who has been incensed at the words of John, told her to say to him, "Right here on this platter, I want the head of that John the Baptist!"
9. And immediately the king regretted what he had said in the heat of the moment, but he didn’t want to break the promise that he had made in front of his guests. So he ordered a guard,
10. “All right, then…do it…go to the prison right now and cut off John's head.”
11. And sure enough, John was then decapitated, and his severed head was taken on a platter to the girl, and she then presented the gruesome trophy to her mother.
12. Shortly thereafter, John's followers took his headless body and buried it. Then they went and told Jesus about the horrible thing that had happened.
13. After Jesus heard the shattering news about John, He crossed Lake Galilee to go to some place where He could be alone to grieve silently, and to try to process what had happened in His own way. But, as usual, the crowds found out that He was moving, and followed Him on foot from the surrounding towns.
14. When Jesus got out of the boat, He saw the large, needy throng, and instead of resenting their lack of sensitivity to His suffering, or focusing on His own feelings, He immediately was moved with compassion for them. So He translated His heartbreak into healing by curing everyone there who was sick. He sacrificed His own need for solitude for the sake of service, and in this way He soothed His own sorrow.