Mark 6:14-18, John the Baptist: A Backward Jesus?

Now King Herod heard [of Jesus], for His name had become well known. And he said, “John the Baptist is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” Others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is the Prophet, or like one of the prophets.” But when Herod heard, he said, “This is John, whom I beheaded; he has been raised from the dead!” For Herod himself had sent and laid hold of John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; for he had married her. Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”

//You’ve been reading Mark’s account of the death of John the Baptist. The curious thing about this passage is that it tells the story of Jesus, but backward!

Verse 14: John’s “resurrection” is discussed.

Verse 16: John dies.

Verse 17: John is imprisoned.

Verse 18: The reason for capture is given.

Read from the bottom up, and you get the story of Jesus. Could this be coincidence, or are we meant to recognize a well-hidden clue regarding the coming death of Jesus?


  1. I have little doubt this is intentional. That does not mean it did not happen, but all the Gospel writers interpreted events in terms of their perception of Jesus as it applied to the community for whom they were writing. Those who preach the Gospel today do the same thing.

  2. Lee Harmon

    Yes, they do, and become quite adept at it, John!

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