J.R. Miller (1840 – 1912), ‘Morning Thoughts’
And immediately the king sent an executioner,
and commanded his head to be brought:
and he went and beheaded him in the prison…
Jesus knows how His followers can best serve Him.
He sent the apostles out to teach and heal. John the Baptist, however, He permitted to be seized, to languish in prison, and to be cruelly beheaded.
Just so, we should be willing to serve our Master in any way He desires. He may want us to give a long life to active usefulness — or He may want us to serve and honor Him by enduring persecution and being murdered.
The life of John seemed to be a failure. He preached only a few months! He was a great preacher, too, and hundreds went to hear him. It seemed to his friends a pitiful waste of life, an irreparable loss to the heavenly kingdom, when he was murdered.
But John’s work was done. He accomplished all that he was sent into the world to do. There really was no reason for his living an hour longer.
When one dies in youth, we are apt to deplore his death as untimely. But God makes no mistakes! ‘Every man is immortal — until his work is done!’
To every thing there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
Seeing his days are determined,
the number of his months are with thee,
thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;
And as it is appointed unto men once to die,
but after this the judgment:
I am he that liveth, and was dead;
and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
and have the keys of hell and of death.