Jesus Before Herod
Jesus’ trial before the Sanhedrin was a mockery as they charged Jesus, God in human flesh, with blasphemy. Pilate refused to hear the Sanhedrin’s religious issues concerning Jesus, so they changed the charge against Jesus to insurrection against the Roman Empire. Even that charge did not hold water. Pilate found Jesus innocent. Three times Pilate proclaimed Jesus innocent of such charges. Read them in Luke 23:4, 14 and 22.
The furious Sanhedrin, intent on killing Jesus, continued speaking to Pilate about Jesus insurrection in Galilee. Pilate immediately realized he had a way out; send Jesus to King Herod who had jurisdiction in Galilee. King Herod was in his palace in Jerusalem at the time, so the murderous crowd rushed Jesus over to his palace to be charged.
WHO WAS THIS HEROD?
This Herod to whom Jesus was brought for trial was Herod Antipas. He was one of four sons of Herod the Great. Herod the Great had been king at the time of Jesus’ birth. You may remember that this Herod ordered the slaying of all infants two years of age and younger in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. He hoped to kill Jesus, whose birth was heralded as the future King of the Jews. By killing the babies, Herod hoped to kill any future competition to his throne.
You may remember that an angel warned Joseph to flee to Egypt with Mary, his wife and the young child, Jesus. Later, when news came that Herod the Great had died; then Joseph brought back his little family to his home in Nazereth.
Herod the Great had four sons to whom he divided his kingdom. Two of them were Philip and Herod Antipatros, or Antipas for short. It meant the son who followed his father. Herod Antipas ruled in Galilee and Perea from 4 AD to 39 AD.
Herod Philip was married to Herodius, his niece. When Herod Antipas visited his brother Philip, he decided to steal Herodius for himself and divorce his wife. So now Herod Antipas was married to Philip’s niece which was also his niece. Nice guy, this Herod who was guilty of incest, divorce, adultery and soon murder!
When John the Baptist preached that what Herod was doing was unlawful before God, Herod had him thrown into prison. Later, at a birthday party for Herod, Salome, Herodius’ daughter by a former marriage danced for him. He was so intoxicated by wine and lust for her that he promised her half of his kingdom. In keeping with her mother’s wishes, she declined the gift and asked for the head of John the Baptist instead.
Herod immediately ordered the beheading of John the Baptist and his head was brought to Herodius on a charger, (a large meat platter).
So this is the Herod to whom Jesus was brought for trial very early in the morning.
HOW DID HEROD ANTIPAS RELATE TO JESUS?
On at least three occasions Jesus and Herod are mentioned.
1. In Mark 6:20 we learn that when Herod heard about Jesus, his first thought was that he must be John the Baptist whom he had beheaded, now resurrected from the dead. His guilty conscience must not have allowed him to ever forget the John the Baptist he had executed to please his consort.
2. On another occasion the Pharisees who hated Jesus, warned him that He had better flee the region since Herod was after Him. The Pharisees were not concerned with Jesus’ safety. They hated Him and wanted Him dead. Jesus scorned Herod, calling him a fox and He let the Pharisees know that He had no intentions of fleeing the region as He had to fulfill His ministry there.
3. This trial of Jesus before Herod was the third opportunity for Herod to interact with Jesus. The Sanhedrin had brought Jesus before him to be tried. Jesus, bruised and bloody, with His eyes, no doubt, blackened from the beatings, and His face covered with spittle He had received from them; stood before Herod in silence. Herod charged Him to work some miracles; to do some of His magic tricks. He wanted to be entertained. Jesus stood in silence before Herod.
The Prophet Isaiah in his prophecy, Isaiah 52:13-14, describes His appearance at this time as “marred more than any man.”
Finally, Herod, in disgust, had a royal robe placed on Him, as he mocked Jesus as a king. From there the Sanhedrin led Jesus back to Pilate. What was Herod’s verdict against Jesus? In Luke 23:14-15 both Pilate and Herod were agreed that Jesus was innocent of all charges.
Incidentally, Luke 23:12 tells us that Pilate and Herod became friends that day. Their friendship was based on their common hatred for the intimidating Jews they were being forced to please.
I don’t think that Pilate or Herod had any hatred for Jesus. It was just a total indifference and rejection of Him, even as people today ignore and reject Christ and remain lost in their sins and condemned to Hell.
Herod’s verdict of not guilty agreed with Pilate’s identical verdict. God’s Word reveals this truth, that in the mouth of two witnesses as Deuteronomy 19:15 required, Jesus was confirmed not guilty of any crime worthy of death.
SO WHO KILLED JESUS?
At the hands of the Sanhedrin, Pilate, Herod, and the Roman soldiers, God killed His own Son, Jesus, as a blood sacrifice in payment for the sins of the whole world. Those who receive that sacrifice by faith are forgiven of their sins and declared Not Guilty before God. Those who reject Christ and His blood sacrifice, are Guilty and must pay the death penalty for their own sins, which is eternal death in Hell. Do you receive or reject that blood Sacrifice for your sins? On the answer to that question hangs your eternal destiny in Heaven or in Hell.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.