Is Someone Knockin' at the Door?
September 20, 2017 | by: Dave Maniquis | 0 Comments
If you’re like many people there are times when you hear a familiar song in the background somewhere and it just relentlessly plays over and over in your head. There’s no relief. Even when you want to discard the melody and lyrics to clear slate in your silently humming mind it just plays and plays. You plead with the pop muses in your head to take a break but they ignore you. This happened to me recently. Here’s the song:
Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Someone’s knockin’ at the door
Somebody’s ringin’ the bell
Do me a favor
Open the door and let ‘em in
These song lyrics are familiar to anyone who has ever listened to a radio. They’re of course the jingle-like refrain from the song “Let ‘em In” written and sung by Paul McCartney.
Reading the sixth chapter of Mark, I thought that if the song could be played backward in time it might have served as background music bouncing around in King Herod’s head amid the music at his raunchy birthday party. The account tells of John the Baptist’s beheading as a result of his wife Herodias’ ploy to have John eliminated. John had been calling out Herod and Herodias for their illegitimate marriage since Herodias was Herod’s sister-in-law. This was in violation of Jewish law (Leviticus 18:16). Enter Herodias’ daughter Salome who basically performs a lap dance for Herod at the devious direction of her mother to force a favor from Herod. Pleased with her performance, the knucklehead promises her, with an oath, whatever she wants. He blurts out “even up to half my kingdom”? Mom tells daughter what to ask for: John’s head. Not to be outdone by her mother’s request, Salome adds the macabre condition: “on a platter.” Like mother, like daughter!
The tragedy? Despite his wife’s previous requests to kill and silence John, Herod respected John’s integrity and wouldn’t do it. Although John was by then imprisoned, Herod actually “protected him, “knowing him to be a righteous and holy man.” (Mark 6:20; TNIV) Here’s the key, “When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.” (Mark 6:20b) Liked to listen to him! John was an amusement for Herod. Like a toy that a child intermittently plays with as his mood dictates.
What’s striking is God’s grace even in the midst of evil; despite evil. Herod has the opportunity to respond to John’s words of repentance and whatever else he proclaimed as the opening act for Jesus but Herod, alas, succumbs to the evil in his hardened heart.
After Jesus’ mock trial and having been brought to Pilate and found guiltless, Pilate the politician realizes that Jesus is a Galilean. Ah, a way to wiggle out of doing what’s right and being done with it. Not my problem man! Send Jesus to his own “congressional district” where Herod can adjudicate the matter. What happens? Jesus says nothing in his own defense in front of Herod any more than he did before Pilate. Jesus is again just an amusement like John had been. Perhaps Herod still had John’s words still playing over in his head. But now he anticipates a different jingle coupled with remarkable overriding of “natural laws.” Finally, a new tune by the maestro Himself! Doctor Luke reports that, “When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. (Luke 23:8-11; NIV) Here’s a man who had a couple of chances at God’s grace. How many people have had even more chances? Yet, like a child bored with a new toy, he tosses it aside. Jesus didn’t need to “speak,” His presence and what Herod “had heard about him” should have said it all.
Someone was “knockin’ at the door,” “somebody was ringing the bell” twice! But Herod is typical of a person of stone-hard heart. To juxtapose the modern jingle to biblical lyrics, playing it forward even in His verbal silence, Jesus implored, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20; cf. Luke 12:36; TNIV)
Herod was tone deaf. He had heard John’s lyrics, heard about Jesus’ miracles, but wasn’t listening to what they meant. He wasn’t listening to the lyrics. He was oblivious to what they pointed to--the Songwriter standing before him. There was God extending an invitation, not just for a birthday party, but for an eternal banquet with Him as the event planner of all creation.
Herod is not unlike many today, 2,000 years later in the midst of the grand party playing out around them. Why not take a break? Listening to an exciting sermon or a good “message” may make them feel that there’s somehow atonement in it for them because the speaker is imbued with motivational qualities and articulate words. Perhaps playing the message over and over in their head will bring them to God since now they’re bonafide Christians, having heard the truth and even assenting to it. Then again it’s temporary amusement in an entertainment-driven world. You’re in the party of your lifetime. Things are going swell. You’re popular. You’re set and having fun today, every day. Birthday parties…any reason for a party is fine just as long as the grand party continues. It may be medication for what’s ailing in the soul but who cares? Everyone is ailing but we’re all having fun together while enduring it.
However, if God is jingling His words in your ear—in your heart of hearts—despite the deafness of everyone else around you to “let Him in,” He is appealing to you as an individual. Even if the visible church as a corporate whole has become deadened to God’s divine jingle you can “let Him in.” Even if you’re a non-believer, surrounded by a God-denying culture, you can let in the God of the universe who is “knockin’ at the door and ringin’ the bell.” Regardless of which person you are, God is showing you favor. Do yourself “a favor, open the door and let ‘em in.”
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with them, and they with me.
Dave Maniquis is a Gospel Partner at Restoration Church. He holds a BA in History from Rutgers University and an MA in Biblical Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He enjoyed a 23-year career in the U.S. government, working and traveling extensively in Western and Eastern Europe. He has been a Christian for most of his adult life and has been involved in church planting, overseas as well as here in Port Orange, teaching the Bible and speaking into others’ lives with the Gospel. He is married to Maureen and they have two wonderful sons, Dylan and Evan.