Two Men Who Celebrated Birthdays
DO YOU like to have parties?— If they are good parties, they can be lots of fun.
But not all parties are good. Some parties are so noisy that the people next door get angry. And there are some parties that even God does not approve. Did you know that?— Would you want to be at a party if you knew that God did not approve of it?—
The Bible tells about parties. The Great Teacher went to a party once, and so did his apostles. It was a party that was held when someone got married. Have you ever been to that kind of party?—
The Bible also tells about two birthday parties. Was one of them to celebrate the birthday of the Great Teacher?— No. Both of these birthday parties were for men who did not serve Jehovah.
One of the birthday parties was for King Herod Antipas. He was the ruler of the district of Galilee when Jesus lived there.
King Herod did many bad things. He took the wife of his brother for himself. Her name was Herodias. God’s servant John the Baptist told Herod that it was wrong for him to do that. Herod did not like that. So he had John locked up in prison.—Luke 3:19, 20.
While John was in prison, the day came for remembering Herod’s birth. Herod gave a big party. He invited many important people. They all ate and drank and enjoyed themselves.
Then the daughter of Herodias came in and danced for them. Everyone was so pleased with her dancing that King Herod wanted to give her a big gift. He called her and said: ‘Whatever you ask me for, I will give it to you, up to half my kingdom.’
What would she ask for? Would it be money? pretty clothes? a palace of her own? The girl did not know what to say. So she went to her mother Herodias and said: “What should I ask for?”
Now, Herodias hated John the Baptist very much. So she told her daughter to ask for his head. The girl went back to the king and said: ‘I want you to give me right away on a plate the head of John the Baptist.’
King Herod did not want to kill John, because he knew that John was a good man. But Herod had made a promise, and he was afraid of what others at the party would think if he changed his mind. So he sent a man out to the prison to chop off the head of John. Soon the man came back. He had John’s head on a plate, and he gave it to the girl. Then the girl ran and gave it to her mother. Wasn’t that terrible?— Mark 6:17-29.
But what about the other birthday party that the Bible tells about? Was it better?—
This party was for a king of Egypt. At his party he had someone’s head chopped off too. And then he hung him up for the birds to eat.—Genesis 40:20-22.
Do you think that God approved of those parties?— Would you have wanted to be at them?—
Now, we know that everything that is in the Bible is there for a reason. It tells us about good people so that we can copy them. And it tells us about bad people so that we will not do what they did. The Bible tells about just two birthday parties, and both were bad. So, what would you say that God is telling us about birthday parties? Does God want us to celebrate birthdays?—
It is true that at such parties today people do not chop off someone’s head. But the whole idea of celebrating birthdays started with people who did things like that. They were pagans. They were people who did not serve Jehovah. Do we want to be like them?—
What about the Great Teacher? Did he celebrate his birthday?— No. There is no place in the Bible that says anything about a birthday party for Jesus.
Even after Jesus died, his true followers did not celebrate his birthday. They did not want to be like the pagans. But later there were men who wanted to celebrate Jesus’ birthday. They could not use the real date of Jesus’ birth, because the Bible does not say when it was. So they chose a date when the pagans had a holiday. It was December 25. Even today, that is when people celebrate Christmas. Do you think God approves of that?—
Most people know that Christmas is not the birthday of Jesus. But many celebrate it anyway. They do not really care what God thinks. But we want to please Jehovah, don’t we?—
So, when we have parties we want to make sure that they are good ones. We can have them anytime of the year. We don’t have to wait for a special day. We can eat some special food and have fun playing games. Would you like to do that?— But before we make our plans, let’s be sure that it is the kind of party that God would approve.