Luke 23:8-9 World English Bible (WEB)
“Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad, for he had wanted to see him for a long time, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle done by him. He questioned him with many words, but he gave no answers.” (WEB)
The Master was brought before four judges: Annas and Caiaphas, Pilate and Herod.
Afraid that their prisoner would when Pilate found no fault in Him, they raised their voices in FURY – to a screaming crescendo.
And in their cunning brought in a new cry: “GALILEE”! – “He stirs up the people from GALILEE to this place!”
Some have thought that this was to show their contempt for their captive…
… But it seems to me to go much further than that.
They were Galileans “whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices…
The priests used the word GALILEE to inflame Pilate.
The effect however was quite unexpected. Pilate grasped the chance to do two things at once:-
- To rid himself of a troublesome case
- To gratify Herod – a kinglet under Caesar.
Now the ruler of Galilee was Herod Antipas… and at this very time he was in Jerusalem for Passover.
So our Lord goes on His third march of sorrow through Jerusalem.
First, to Annas and Caiaphas.
Second, to Pilate.
Third to, Herod.
Fourth, back to Pilate.
But read: Acts 4:27 28 “For truly, in this city against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together to do whatever your hand and your council foreordained to happen.”
Herod Antipas was the son of Herod the Great, who had put to death the babes at Bethlehem.
The old Herod was called by some “the Lion” – But Jesus Himself had another name for Herod’s son. He called him “the Fox”! (Luke 13:31).
His title TETRARCH means: Ruler of the 4th part of the kingdom.
He was a sensualist, a man of gross vice.
He had received religious convictions under John the Baptist.
Mark 6: 20 “For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he did many things, and he heard him gladly.”
Evidently Herod Antipas reformed for a time. But then he became like the DOG & SOW of whom Peter speaks:
“The dog turns to his own vomit again,” and “the sow that has washed to wallowing in the mire.”
For whilst his brother was still alive he took his brother Philip’s wife to be his mistress.
Herod was rebuked by the Baptist who was shut up in prison, later to be executed at the instigation of the adulteress who shared the royal apartment.
Now Herod is curious to see Jesus …
Now, many attend places of worship, just to know how things are going – THEY NEVER INTEND TO BE FOLLOWERS OF THE LAMB.
All the gossip of the churches is known to them – but they have little regard for God in their souls.
The church is their lounge.
The service a short entertainment – a diversion on the week’s dullest day.
The preacher a kind of performer…
Herod is the leader of all such triflers.
Curiosity! It is that feeling which is one step higher than total indifference — but only one step!
At first sight, in Herod’s case – it seems a promising thing:-
“When Herod saw Jesus he was exceeding glad.”
For so were the Apostles when they saw Jesus:- “Then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord!”
He was glad because he had heard so many things of Him. (Joanna – who accompanied Jesus – worked in the palace – and was the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward! Perhaps she told Herod about Jesus).
And does not faith come by hearing?
Herod “hoped to see some miracle done by Jesus.” Evidently he was not an absolute unbeliever. He hoped for a miracle.
But reflect gear friends:-
Herod’s case was bad. Once he had feared Jesus: “This is John,whom I beheaded. He has risen from the dead.” (Mark 6:16).
Now his conscience is asleep – He is exceeding glad to see Jesus.
There sits the lump of lust and laziness – that mixture of Humpty Dumpty and Blue Beard — waiting as a gleeful child would wait for a conjuror to perform some trick or illusion.
Perhaps he thought Jesus would multiply loaves and fishes in the palace, or perhaps, vanish from their sight – as at Nazareth 3 years ago.
“He questioned Him in many words” – Eagerly the questions came rumbling from his eager lips…
We are not told what the questions or quibbles were. I will tell you – they would be the old sort, like: “Where did Cain get his wife from?” etc.
Fools can ask more questions in an hour than wise men can ask in a week!
But – Jesus answered him nothing. Jesus’ advice had always been: “Do not cast your pearls before swine!”
In the presence of The Fox The Lamb is silent.
Our Lord did not come into this world to be a mere wonder-worker.
He did not leave His glory to earn the wondering open-mouthed approval of men: kings or commoners.
The best He could do for Herod was to lessen further responsibility by maintaining silence.
Herod had already silenced THE VOICE (John the Baptist) – how could he then hope to hear THE WORD (Jesus the LOGOS)?
Herod might have heard Jesus scores of times in Galilee. Why had he not troubled to do so?
All these had been His auditoriums…
Yet Herod had never sought Him.
- Herod and Pilate Were Made Friends That Day
Here was a coalition of evil.
Here the proselyte Jew Herod of Edomite descent joins hands with Pilate the pagan.
How often enemies unite against the Lord’s Christ! For example the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
The Bishop of Woolwich and Huxley – the scientist and the humanist, equally oppose the Gospel of Christ.
I hope if there is any ill-will between two Christians: they will think it a shame to see Herod and Pilate made friends in the presence of Jesus – and they themselves unfriendly still.
Jesus is a GREAT DESTROYER OF ENMITY — “He hath made peace by the blood of His cross!”