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The Scriptorium

Jesus before Herod

Friends in heinous crime. Luke 23.6-12

Luke 23 (2)

Pray Psalm 116.1-6.
I love the LORD, because He has heard
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.
The pains of death surrounded me,
And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me;
I found trouble and sorrow.
Then I called upon the name of the LORD:
“O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!”
Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
Yes, our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.

Sing Psalm 116.1-6.
(Mit Freuden Zart: Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
I love the LORD because He hears my cries and pleas for mercy.
Because He bends to me His ears, my prayers shall ever thus be.
The snares of death encompassed me; hell’s grip could not unloosened be;
distress and anguish pressed me.

I called to God, “O LORD, I pray, my soul redeem with favor!”
The LORD is gracious in His way, and righteous is our Savior.
His mercy to the simple flies; He lifted me up to the skies.
I rest in Him forever!

Read Luke 23.1-12; meditate on verses 6-12.

1. Why was Herod glad to be able to see Jesus?

2. How did Jesus respond to Herod?

Pilate shuffled Jesus over the Herod—the first of his “hand-washings” where the Messiah was concerned. Herod had the power to exonerate Jesus and set Him free. He was eager to see Jesus, albeit for the wrong reasons (v. 8), and he put many questions to Him (v. 9).

But Jesus refused to hold converse with Herod (v. 9). His mission was higher than what Herod could understand or expedite; and He was not interested in mere political freedom, which would have compromised His true mission.

We do not need politicians to prop up our mission or deliver us from the scorn and threats and machinations of those who do not like us. Yet this is where we turn, time after time. We prefer the ear of politicians to the ear of God, and the power of the State to the power of the Spirit, operating with faith. We are fools, and friends with the likes of Pilate and Herod (v. 12); and we do not follow the path of our Savior when we put our wellbeing in the hands of government.

Better we should simply ignore the politicians, refuse to endorse any of them—at the same time being careful to fulfill our Constitutional duty as citizens—and press on with our agenda of saving souls and nurturing them in the fear and holiness of the Lord. Like Jesus, we should not try to avoid affliction or persecution, but continue our mission despite such hindrances, trusting God to use our faith to accomplish His Kingdom ends.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth” (Is. 53.7).

“I will meditate on the glorious splendor
of Your majesty, and on Your wondrous works” (Ps. 145.5).

Who do these people think they are?
Herod and Pilate, now “besties” over their hatred of Jesus Christ (Lk. 23.12).
These chief priests and scribes, popping out of every corner, like death and taxes, always present with an accusation (Lk. 23.10).
They are a naturally occurring blight of hatred and vitriol.
“You who hate good and love evil…” (Mic. 3.2).
“…. backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things…” (Rom. 1.30).

Herod, full of himself, and the power bestowed upon him by wicked men, wanted to see a trick—amuse me, thrill me, entertain me (Lk. 23.8)—but Jesus, full of grace and truth, declined his gruesome request (Lk. 23.9). “The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him, but their fate would endure forever” (Ps. 81.15).

When on view, we see these people to be despicable. We do not like them. We find it easy to follow the psalmists’ words: “You who love the LORD, hate evil!” (Ps. 97.10). And we do.

But what about us?
Do we long to be entertained at church?
Do we also want Jesus to work miracles? Just because He can? And we need a little relief?
Do we have friends who are like-minded? But only because we like the same ungodliness?

I do not ever want to say some words, be some way, or do some thing that gets this response from Jesus: He answered me nothing (Lk. 23.9)

We must always keep in mind Who He Is, and what He has done, and show Him the proper respect:
“…He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…” (Heb. 1.3). This Jesus. Who majestically stood before Herod, is our King and Ruler, to Whom we submit with joy unspeakable. “…whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1.8, 9).

Mind how you go.

For reflection
1. We must always be aware lest a spirit of Herod or the Pharisees creep into our thinking. How can we keep from falling into the sin of a self-centered faith?

2. Again, what do we learn from Jesus about bearing witness to hostile people?

3. How should we balance our duties as citizens with depending too much on political solutions to the nation’s ills?

Herod had heard many things of Jesus in Galilee, and out of curiosity longed to see him. The poorest beggar that asked a miracle for the relief of his necessity, was never denied; but this proud prince, who asked for a miracle only to gratify his curiosity, is refused. He might have seen Christ and his wondrous works in Galilee, and would not; therefore it is justly said, Now he would [like to] see them, and shall not.
Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Luke 23.6-12

Pray Psalm 116.7-19.
Our salvation was gained by Jesus’ suffering, including all the humiliation He was subjected to by wicked men. Rejoice in your salvation. Give thanks to Jesus. Commit yourself afresh to Him, and call on Him to strengthen you to live fully for Him each day.

Sing Psalm 116.7-19.
(Mit Freuden Zart: Sing Praise to God, Who Reigns Above)
Full well the LORD has dealt with me; my soul from death He delivered.
My weeping eyes, my stumbling feet, He has redeemed forever.
Forever I before His face shall walk with those who know His grace,
and dwell with them forever.

Afflicted, I believe His Word, though lying men would undo me.
What shall I render to the Lord for all His blessings to me?
Salvation’s cup I lift above and call upon the God of love
and pay my vows most truly.

How sweet to Him when saints depart – save me, Your servant, Savior!
From sin You loosed my wand’ring heart; I praise Your Name forever!
On You I call, my vows to pay; here in Your Presence I would stay,
Your praise to offer ever.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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