Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Jesus' Silence Before Herod
We're in the middle of Jesus' trial and nobody wants to actually dirty their hands by rendering a death sentence on Jesus. The Jews hand Him over to Pilate, but he wants nothing to do with this charade. He realizes that Herod happens to be in town due to the Passover, and since Jesus is a Galilean, He falls under Herod's jurisdiction, so Pilate passes Jesus along to Herod, hoping to wash his hands of the whole matter.
Herod Antipas, one of the four sons of Herod the Great, ruled Galilee and Peraea. This was the Herod that had an affair with his half-brother's wife (Herod Philip's wife Herodias), who was also his niece. This was both an adulterous and incestuous relationship, and John the Baptist called Herod out on his sin, at the cost of his life.
When Herod first heard about Jesus he was afraid that he was John the Baptist brought back to life again - that's what guilt will do to you (Luke 9).
In Luke 13 the Pharisees tell Jesus to get away from the area because Herod was intent on murdering him.
This is the third mention of Herod and Jesus. We already know that Herod feared Jesus and that he wanted Him dead - now he's got Him in his power. So, what's he going to do?
His original fear seems to have dwindled to mere curiosity. He wants Jesus to do a sign. He's heard about the miracles of Jesus and he'd like to see one for himself. So he questions Jesus.
And Jesus says nothing. Absolutely nothing.
Keep in mind what Jesus looked like at this point. They've beaten and abused Him from 3 - 5 in the morning. He's exhausted, He's got spit and blood matting His hair, His face and body is bruised and bleeding from the blows. He's bound. Powerless. This is the man that's supposed to be a revolutionary? The chief priests and scribes have screamed accusations at Him, but Herod's seen no proof, evidence, or testimony of any criminal act on the part of Jesus. He's not a threat, He's not an insurrectionist, He's a nobody. THIS is the Jesus I heard about, that I was afraid of? He's a joke! He's not a threat to Rome, to Herod, to anybody!
So, along with his soldiers, Herod treats Him with contempt, even putting one of his own robes on Jesus as a mockery of the idea that He is a King. Then he sent Him back to Pilate. Herod's verdict? Not guilty.
And then this very strange verse 12. “Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day, for before they had been at enmity with each other.” A friendship built around the mistreatment of Jesus...a friendship built around a common hatred for the intimidating Jews that they had to acquiesce to. What a sordid friendship. Perfect friendship for sordid characters...
why does the Bible even bother with telling us about Herod here? Why did this even play into the story?....
From Pilate’s viewpoint, he wanted confirmation and he got it. From Christ’s viewpoint, it confirms His innocence. It confirms Pilate’s verdict. It confirms Christ’s innocence. Because the guilt and innocence of anyone is to be confirmed in the mouth of two witnesses, Deuteronomy 19:15. Here’s the two witnesses, Pilate, “Not guilty.” Herod, “Not guilty.” Two witnesses. From God’s viewpoint, it confirms the Scripture.
Psalm 2 prophesies that The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed
Acts 4:27 confirms that Herod and Pilate were the fulfillment of this prophesy.... for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate.
Why did this part of the story play out?
From Pilate’s view, going to Herod confirmed the verdict. From Christ’s view, going to Herod confirmed His innocence in the mouth of two witnesses. From God’s view, being sent to Herod confirms the prophecy of Scripture. It wasn’t incidental.
Here's the tragedy of it all though....
Face-to-face with the Son of God, face-to-face with the Creator of the universe, face-to-face with the Savior and Redeemer of sinners...Face-to-face with Christ, never asked the right question, never received the gift of forgiveness and eternal life which Christ provides.....what a waste.
Monday's scripture focus: Luke 23:13-25
Sunday's passage: Joel 1-3
Monday's passage: Revelation 7, Amos 1-2