134: Jesus before Herod
The rabbis were indignant. They had brought Jesus to Pilate, telling him that Jesus was a troublemaker who deserved to die. But Pilate now told them that Jesus was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
"Not guilty?" they shouted back at him. "He has the people in an uproar, from Galilee all the way to Jerusalem!"
Pilate did not reply, but he did note how excited and angry the Jews were. In his heart he was somewhat afraid of them. His duty was to let Jesus go, for he had declared Him innocent. What were the Jews saying? Galilee?
"Is this man a Galilean?" he asked. A clever idea suddenly came to him. He thought of a way to free himself of this ticklish matter without angering the Jews.
Pilate was governor only over Judea. King Herod ruled Galilee. Herod happened to be in Jerusalem for the Passover season.
Let Herod take responsibility for making this difficult judgment. He was welcome to it. Pilate and Herod had been enemies for years. It would look as if he were being very polite to Herod.
He gave Jesus back to the Jews and sent them over to Herod. He sighed with relief when he saw them hurry out the gate. He felt satisfied as he went back into his house.
Herod was happy when he saw Jesus coming, for he had often hoped to see Him. Repeatedly he had heard of Jesus' wonders, and a secret fear had taken root in him. His conscience still tormented him for murdering John the Baptist. He was superstitious. He feared that Jesus might be John the Baptist back from the grave, looking for revenge on his murderer.
When he finally saw Jesus, this foolish fear vanished at once. The pale, tired man who stood silent and bound before him was not a fearsome figure. Was He really the wonder-worker that people talked about so much? If so, Herod wanted to see Him perform His tricks.
Jesus would no doubt be happy to oblige. A prisoner would do anything to gain his freedom.
He asked Jesus to do some tricks, but he received no answer. He asked Jesus questions, but Jesus remained silent. Jesus said nothing in response to the grave accusations made by the chief priests and scribes.
Herod was disappointed and finally gave up. He still wanted to get some enjoyment out of this matter, so he began to mock Jesus and bait Him. By now he was not afraid of Jesus. His soldiers joined the fun.
"He wants to be a king?" asked Herod, laughing in contempt. "Well then, let's put Him in some royal robes." He had a beautiful garment thrown over Jesus' shoulders. Perhaps it was a robe that he used to wear himself.
Jesus did not shake off the robe. There was no anger in His eyes. He let people do all these things to Him and showed amazing patience. Herod never once heard Jesus' voice.
Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate in that shining robe. That showed what he thought of Jesus. He was pleased that the governor had recognized him by sending Jesus to him. It made him forget how much he hated Pilate. Herod wanted to be polite too.
That day Pilate and Herod became friends.