This section in Matthew’s Gospel (chapters 14-20) is what Warren Wiersbe calls the “Retirement of the King”. Jesus is preparing His disciples for the testing times ahead in Jerusalem and His approaching suffering and death. John the Baptist was recently martyred, and some believers will suffer severely and die for bringing the message of Christ.
On his birthday, King Herod promises with an oath to give Herodias’ daughter whatever she wants. She requests the head of John the Baptist on a platter (verse 7-8). The king was distressed by this request, ‘but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison.’ (verse 9-10).
It was a rash promise in the context, with deadly consequences.
Christians should be people of their word (Matthew 5:37). Any promises you make, must be kept. Therefore, unlike Herod, be wise in the kind of promises you make to one another; do not make promises you will later regret.
Action: Avoid casual and irresponsible promises that may bring dishonour to the Lord and harm to His people.
Ask the Lord to make you wise and trustworthy in your use of the tongue (cf. Matthew 5:33-37).