READ Luke 23:1-23
We live in a time in which political rulers hold great power. Often, that power is used for selfish gain and personal benefit. What we see in today’s passage is no exception. Jesus is put on trial before Pilate and false accusations are hurled around the ancient courtroom. Just like in our day, everyone wants to get something out of the deal: the Pharisees want the status quo restored to the temples and their positions of societal power restored, and Pilate wants his people appeased.
What is Jesus’ response to Pilate’s questions?
Though Pilate finds Jesus innocent of any crime, the people are insistent that He be punished. Hearing that Jesus is not from his region, Pilate finds the legal loophole he needs to send Jesus to Herod.
What does the text tell us about Herod? Why does He want to see Jesus?
Herod has likely heard of all the miraculous signs that Jesus has done, and Herod wants to witness one of them. Herod wants to see Jesus do a trick and is eager to have Jesus in his courtroom for just this reason. But in the face of accusations, Jesus is silent. While He is accused and harassed, He is silent. Jesus neither defends Himself nor gives their words any merit. This outrages the ruler who wanted to see Jesus do something miraculous, and Herod and his guards turn violent. Dressing Him royally, the guards mock Him, jeering at the “King of the Jews.”
And we cannot miss what Herod does: Herod wanted Jesus to show a sign of His power, and in his courtroom Herod witnesses one of the greatest signs of God’s reigning power as Jesus fulfills the prophecies of old. Jesus is silent before His accusers, just as God said He would be. Jesus resists retaliating, just as God said He would. God’s power is fully on display in Jesus’ silence, and Herod misses it entirely.
Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate, and at the crowd’s insistence Jesus is sentenced to death. Just like rulers in the kingdoms of our day, Pilate, Herod, and the religious leaders all stand to gain something for themselves through Jesus’ sentencing. But what they don’t know is that in their search for personal gain they missed entirely the One who gave His live to give them eternal life. Their reign will surely come to an end … because the King is in their courtroom.
Spend some time praising God that He did not retaliate when accused, and that He walked confidently towards the cross. Thank God that Jesus fulfilled every Messianic prophecy to the glory of God.