This text is used for the Lectionary Year B on July 12, 2015.
These verses present a unique narrative in Mark’s Gospel; the focus is not upon Jesus. Up until this point, Jesus has occupied center stage, but for one brief moment the spotlight shifts totally to another, John the Baptist. The shift happens in 8:14-16 with Herod’s identification of this rumored Jesus as John the Baptist raised from the dead. While other popular identifications speculated that Jesus was Elijah or a prophet like of old, Herod’s paranoid assessment becomes his haunted truth, “John has been raised.” He is guilt-haunted because Herod understands his personal responsibility for the death of John by repining, “I beheaded” him.