Herod is always viewed as a murderer of John the baptist. But the gospels portray him as someone who feared John, gladly heard his preaching and even protected him. Just as the seed sown among thorns, we can see how Herod who believed in John’s preaching, eventually murdered him because of the cares of this world choked him instead of repenting from his sin.
Received the preaching of John with gladness
… Herod feared John, knowing that he [was] a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.Mark 6:20
The gospel of Mark does not portray Herod as an enemy of John the baptist and never had any intention to harm him. He not only feared John but also received his preaching and rebukes with gladness.
Choked to become a murderer
Because John had said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Therefore Herodias held it against him and wanted to kill him, but she could not;Mark 6:18-19
Even though Herod heard the preaching and rebukes of John with gladness, he never turned away from his sins. Herodias was still married to him which was unlawful. It was this sin which he refused to turn away, became a thorn which eventually made him murder John the Baptist, the greatest prophet born among women.
Remove thorns to become a good ground
Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands [it,] who indeed bears fruit and produces: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.Matt 13:22-23
Cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches are the thorns that can choke us. We need to completely remove these thorns for us to become good ground. Without removing everything that causes us to sin, we will eventually become unfruitful, even if we receive the teaching of Jesus with gladness.
Many receive the word with gladness and joy like Herod. Unless we turn back and repent, no matter how much we receive the word, the cares of this world will choke and make us unfruitful and a worse sinner. We must remove all the thorns to make our ground good and be fruitful.