Mark 6:14

Now King Herod heard of Jesus; for his name had become well known. People were saying – “John the Baptizer must have risen from the dead, and that is why these miraculous powers are active in him.”

it is most difficult
to go beyond our experience
thought experiments are rare
present knowledge is comfortable
trustworthy loyal controllable

along comes strange news
by definition not good news
to be grabbed by the neck
stuffed into a current category
curiosity satisfied memory wiped

such stasis settles in
each social stratum has theirs
by which we know and find our place
John Jesus Jonah Jeremiah
we got you covered

Markan “sandwiches” or inclusions interrupt themselves as we just read with the sending of Twelve. They also are interrupted by other events such as the woman who bled for twelve years and this episode with Tetrarch Herod Antipas and Baptizer John.

The transition here is smoother as it builds upon the report of the Twelve about the healing they were able to do. In Herod’s terms “miraculous powers” had been wakened.

The exact nature of these countervailing powers was quite up for grabs as a variety of explanations will be forthcoming. This same variety of speculations arise in every time, for nothing is quite as simple as we would like to be able to have our meaning-making desire cared for. Basically, strange things are afoot and this means danger to those who are momentarily powerful and opportunity for those out-of-the-loop.

John, “raised from the dead”? We first met John in Chapter 1 when he was baptizing as a sign of repentant metanoia (1:4). With John’s arrest (1:14) Jesus begins his Proclamation Tour. John’s disciples are following their tradition and become part of the stimuli for a test of Jesus regarding fasting (2:18). John has been under arrest for some time. We’ve practically forgotten about the Baptizer. Now, out of the blue, in the midst of an ecstatic recounting of healing after healing, John is dead?

BANG! It is time to reorient ourselves to a sideways approach to the question of Jesus’ identity and finding out about John.