19 And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.Whenever I read this I'm blown away by the boldness and holiness of John the Baptist. There's a guy presumably in camel hair and a leather belt telling the King, "ummm no, you are not sovereign, you cannot have your brother's wife as your own."
There's no hesitancy about wondering whether or not preachers of the word should pronounce judgment about someone else ("but we love one another!"). No claim to a "separation of church and state." No need to dress things up to appease the King or the crowds. He just acted out of biblical convictions and faced jailtime for it.
But because of his holiness and zeal, Herod feared John. When was the last time I acted in a manner that sinners actually feared me? Shoot.