A severed head carried by a young girl. It's a bit like nightmare fuel... the sort of thing that may scare you to death in the middle of the night if the light were to catch it just right. You literally never know what I'm going to put in these blog posts.
This painting hangs in Thomas Jefferson's Monticello home. It was one of three paintings Jefferson bought while living in France as the U.S. minister. He desired to bring back to the states the French culture he loved so much. And, if you're like me, you may be asking, "Why?" This seems like a strange painting for which to celebrate French culture.
It depicts a scene from the Gospel of Mark where John the Baptist is decapitated. The young woman holding the head on the platter is Salome. She is the stepdaughter of Herod who had just finished a striptease for her step-dad and his buddies. Low-key, It's a rated R Bible story... Not the kind you'd usually find attached to flannel graphs.
Why Jefferson, why? John's head was cut off by a cowardly want-to-be king who persecuted him for his preaching. Many think that Jefferson hung this terrifying image on his wall as a reminder of the evils of state-sanctioned persecution against worship.
Whatever Jefferson's reason, the painting serves as a stark reminder of the cost of discipleship. For John, it cost him everything. Tomorrow we look deeply at this fascinating account of a brave prophet who gave it all and a cowardly king who lost it all. I'd love for you to join us!
Join us for worship tomorrow!
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