Messiah Reviled & Rejected, part 2

Posted: March 11, 2018 in Luke, Uncategorized

Luke 23:1-12, “Messiah Reviled & Rejected, part 2”

It’s like the start of a bad joke, except with ancient characters. Instead of starting out with “a priest, a minister, and a rabbi,” it’s “a Roman, a Idumean, and a bunch of rabbis (priests).” What is it that brings together a whole bunch of people with hardly anything in common, except the time & area in which they live? Each and every one of them rejected Jesus. They didn’t believe His teaching, they didn’t accept His true identity, and they either wanted Him dead or didn’t care whether or not He lived or died. Jew and Gentile alike turned their backs on the Savior of the world. All of representative humanity rejected Jesus and sent Him to the cross.

Of course, this is what humans have always done. From the Garden of Eden onward, mankind has turned its back on God. We’ve wanted Him to bend to our will, rather than submit to His. Whether it was Adam and Eve eating of the one singular tree they were commanded not to eat (despite the multitude of trees they had available to them) – or it was Cain taking out his frustrations of failure on his younger brother Abel – or Pharaoh hardening his heart against the commands of God, refusing to release the Hebrews from slavery – all of it was man putting himself above God, rejecting God’s authority.

And it is not only the Biblical record…personal experience shows that we do the same thing. How many times have we chosen our way instead of God’s way? Sometimes it’s something we consider relatively small, as when we indulge our pride or choose to worship our own entertainment rather than the Lord who gave us life. Other times, it is something “larger,” when we purposefully and distinctly say “no” to God, and we intentionally choose to do things our own way. And that’s just the behavior of Christians! Before we came to faith, many of us chose to either ignore God or to mock Him – that’s just what we did. Whatever our own personal examples, we haven’t strayed too far from the response of the Jewish priests, the Roman governor, or the Idumean pretender-king.

It had been the start of a very long day for Jesus – probably the longest of His entire incarnated life. What had been the celebration of His final Passover supper the night before with His disciples, and an overnight in the Garden of Gethsemane spent in prayer, turned in the wee hours of the morning into betrayal by Judas Iscariot, arrest by the Jewish authorities, and a denial from one of His best friends (Peter) that he had even known the Lord Jesus. The Jewish Sanhedrin (the chief priests & scribes, composed of leadership from both the Sadducees and the Pharisees) wasted no time putting Jesus on trial. In fact, they did it twice (though only once was recorded by Luke). The first trial came at the home of the high priest, illegally performed in front of a small cadre of those conspiring against Christ. The “official” trial took place at daybreak, Jesus having been beaten & mocked by the officers of the Jewish temple guard. It was there that Jesus fully admitted that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and the priests and scribes were able to convict Him of blasphemy.

That was the charge that the Sanhedrin had desired all along, but they had a problem: although blasphemy was a capital offense according to Jewish law, it didn’t mean a hill of beans to the Romans. They needed the Romans to convict & execute Jesus, so that meant they needed to take Him to Pilate, trying to trump up some other criminal charges against Jesus – something that would cause Rome to take notice & kill Him. In the process, Pilate would get the input of another imperial leader who happened to be in town: Herod Antipas, one of the sons of Herod the Great – the Idumean (Edomite) king who once ruled all of Judea.

Theologically speaking, what took place was more rejection of Jesus. Earlier it was the representatives of the Jewish nation – this time, it was the Gentiles. Be it Rome or elsewhere, all nations rejected Jesus as the King of the Jews, having no fear of Him as the all-powerful Son of God. Just as all peoples everywhere have rebelled against God, so too did all nations reject God’s Messiah. The One sent to save the world was first despised by the world – disdained as being unworthy and unremarkable.

How wrong they (and we) were! Jesus is the King of the Jews, and not of the Jews only – He is the King of the world! Don’t reject Him; recognize Him for who He is & worship Him as Lord!

Luke 23:1–12

  • Pilate’s indifference (1-5)

1 Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”

  1. Be careful not to get the wrong idea from verse 1. When the NKJV speaks of “the whole multitude,” it’s simply a reference to the full assembly/congregation of people who were already gathered for the Jewish trial of Jesus. This isn’t a massive mob of people (yet!). There will be larger crowds to come, but for now, this was the assembled group of the Sanhedrin: the priests, scribes, and whatever temple guards they had with them who had put Jesus through a kangaroo court trying to find some legal reason to put Him to death.
  2. Although the Jews rarely hesitated to stone people through mob “justice,” (as seen in the example of the woman caught in adultery – Jn 8), they did not have the authority to engage in legalized execution (capital punishment), which was the Sanhedrin’s desire for Jesus. If they had personally killed Jesus, they ran the risk of the mob turning against them. Yet if they had Jesus convicted and executed by the Roman government, then they would maintain the support of the people. Thus, they “led Him to Pilate.” Normally, the Roman prefect (governor) would not have been in Jerusalem, but in Caesarea – but due to the size of the Passover feast, Pilate was in the city. It made things convenient for the Jewish priests & scribes as they were simply able to take Jesus from one house to another. Keep in mind, it was still the early morning…Jesus had a busy day ahead of him.
  3. The first thing they do upon waking Pilate is “accuse” Jesus, charging Him with all kinds of crimes. Note that the charges against Jesus are somewhat different than what was debated among the Jews. Earlier that morning, the question had still been asked if Jesus was the Christ (22:67), but the main issue was religious; not political. At that point, they wanted to know if Jesus believed Himself to be the Son of God, and if so, they could convict Him of blasphemy (which He did, and they did). Here, the issue is purely political. Here, when the priests accuse Jesus of proclaiming Himself “Christ,” He was really proclaiming Himself to be “a King” – the king of the Jews.
    1. Actually, He’s both. The priests may have split of the charges into what they believed mattered to Pilate & what they knew mattered to them, but both aspects of the Christ are true. “Christ,” is the Greek word meaning “anointed,” which is the translation of the Hebrew word for “Messiah.” The Messiah is the Anointed One of God, who is both the Son of God (endued with all of the power and glory of God, being God of true God Himself), and the King of Israel (being the legitimate heir of David, and the rightful heir to the throne). There are times in the Old Testament that the Messiah is shown to be a human military victor in the role of a king, and there are other times that the Messiah can be none other than God Himself. No doubt the ancient Jews had trouble understanding how this could be reconciled, but in the person of Jesus the question is answered! He is the Christ: fully God, fully Man – Suffering Servant and Victorious King. Jesus is the fulfillment of every Messianic prophecy, from Genesis to Revelation!
  4. As to the charge of Jesus claiming to be Christ, that much is true – but everything else the priests claim of Him is false. They engage in all kinds of lies and false witness of Him, as they attempt to bolster their case that Jesus pretended Himself to be the usurper of Rome. Had Jesus ever said anything about paying taxes to Caesar? Yes – but He said the taxes ought to be paid; not forbidden. It was just a few days earlier that week when the Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus with a dilemma over taxes, and Jesus famously (and publicly) told them to “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (20:25) In no way did Jesus forbid tax payment to Caesar! How then could the priests make the charge (apart from outright deception)? It was all insinuation. If Jesus was the true king of Israel, then the taxes to be paid ought to be paid to Him; not Caesar. Again, this was nothing Jesus said – but it was how the priests chose to twist His Messianic claims for their own purposes in front of Pilate.
    1. In no small irony, the priests accused Jesus of “perverting” or “misleading” the nation, but it was they who were guilty of perverting/distorting Jesus’ teaching and reputation. They directly violated the 9th Commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” (Exo 20:16). They intentionally testified wrongly of Jesus. And remember that these were the priests & the scribes – they were the experts in Jewish law. Those who had the responsibility to teach God’s truth could not (or would not) speak truth about God’s Son.
    2. Just because someone knows a lot about the Bible doesn’t mean that they know the Author of the Bible. Someone might have a theological degree, but no relationship with Jesus. This is one reason it’s so important for us to know the Bible for ourselves. An “expert” might get on TV, interviewed by the History Channel about Jesus & end up dragging Jesus’ name through the mud. We would never know unless we knew for ourselves what the Bible says about Jesus. We need to be students of the word!
      1. More than that, we need to know our Jesus! As important as it is to know the Bible (and we know Jesus through the Bible), if we study the Bible without coming to the knowledge of Jesus, we’ve missed the point. These priests knew their Scripture & traditions, but they knew nothing of the Savior to whom the Scripture pointed…which they proved through their lies to Pilate. 

3 Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”

  1. Although it may not sound like it, this is pretty much a direct question and direct answer. Jesus did not come out and say “I am,” but He gave a similar answer to Pilate as He gave to the Sanhedrin when they asked Him if He was the Son of God (22:70). This would have been Jesus’ opportunity to refute the charges, and since He chose not to do so, it was as if He received Pilate’s question as a true assumption. “Are you the King of the Jews?” “You said it.” It was about as clear as it got in that culture.
  2. Jesus is the King of the Jews. They may not know it today, but one day they will! The Bible is clear that one day the Jews will have their spiritual blindness to Jesus healed, and all Israel will be saved (Rom 11:26). It says that one day they will look upon the One they had pierced (Zech 12:10), mourning their sin against Him. It says that one day the Messiah (Jesus) will reign over Israel as the Son of David, and His kingdom will never end (Isa 9:7). Jesus is indeed Israel’s legitimate King, and He will reign!
    1. FYI: Jesus isn’t only the King of the Jews; He is the King of the world! Jesus’ rule begins in Jerusalem, but it extends over all the earth. And yes, one day, all the world will see Him & acknowledge Him as such. One day every knee will bow & every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father! (Phil 2:10)
  3. No doubt the interview went longer (as indicated in the other gospels), but Luke draws it to a close. 

4 So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.”

  1. The verdict? Innocent! Even with the direct admission by Jesus about being the King of the Jews, Pilate still found “no fault in this Man.” He found no grounds for legal action by the empire of Rome against the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
  2. As much as we might rejoice in the recognition of Jesus’ innocence from criminal charges, we have to ask the question of “why.” Why did Pilate pronounce Him innocent? Wasn’t Jesus’ admission of being the Christ enough to bring a conviction of insurrection or treason? Luke doesn’t go into Pilate’s motives for additional details, nor do the other gospels. Matthew tells us how Pilate’s wife warned him against having anything to do with Jesus, but that warning didn’t come until later in the day (Mt 27:19). At this point, we don’t know. Perhaps Pilate looked for evidence of Jesus’ kingship that went beyond His claims & the charges against Him. We know Pilate did not understand the nature of Jesus’ kingdom (Jn 18:33-38). Perhaps Pilate was looking for armies or some sign of military might and authority, of which Jesus manifested none. Whatever his logic, Pilate didn’t see Jesus as a threat, and was willing to pronounce Him faultless.
    1. Pilate may not have seen it, but Jesus was more than a threat than he knew! Jesus has more might in His pinky finger than what existed in the entire Roman army all over the civilized world. Pilate didn’t have a clue who it was he so casually dismissed.
    2. Do we? It’s easy to write this off to the skeptics of the world, but there are many cultural casual “Christians” who dismiss Jesus just as easily. They show up at church a couple of times a year, put a few bucks in the offering plate as it goes past, and consider their duty done. Or perhaps we should go a bit deeper. What about those who believe upon Jesus for eternal life & forgiveness of sin, but never give a second thought to Him as their Lord? Is that not just as much dismissal of Jesus as Pilate? Sure, they might not find any wrong in Him, but neither do they find anything right. They know enough of Jesus for Him to suit their purposes, but not enough for them to change their lives.
      1. If that’s how you know Jesus, then you don’t truly know Him at all!
    3. Question: If Pilate found no fault in Jesus, can it be considered Pilate’s fault that Jesus was crucified? Yes! Think about it: Pilate knew Jesus was innocent, yet he did nothing. Pilate could have defied the will of the priests – surely it wouldn’t have been the first time he did something the Sanhedrin didn’t like. Pilate could have released Jesus in order to spite the priests, perhaps even in an attempt to curry favor with a different political faction among the Jews. He didn’t. Pilate did nothing. He chose to let an innocent Man continue to suffer and eventually be tortured to death on the cross – an act of sinfully cruel indifference that becomes even more evident later in Chapter 23.
      1. It isn’t enough to recognize Jesus’ righteousness; we have to respond to it.

5 But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”

  1. The priests were strongly opposed to Pilate’s finding. They claimed that Jesus incited the people, disturbing them & stirring them up with His doctrine. They basically accused Jesus of fomenting Jewish rebellion and revolution against Rome. They pressed the case that Jesus was a traitor & insurrectionist. Again, more lies, but it shows that they pulled out all the stops in their attempt to get Pilate to act.
  2. Question: Had Jesus stirred up the people? Not according to the priests’ insinuations – there was nothing in Jesus’ teaching that directed people to physical & military revolt. But Jesus certainly left an impact everywhere He went! Thousands of people came to see & hear Him at any given point in time. There were times the Jews tried to take Him by force and make Him king (Jn 6:15), and there were times they rejected Jesus & tried to kill Him by throwing Him off a cliff (Lk 4:29). Whether their reactions were joyful or terrible, people couldn’t help but have some sort of response to Jesus. And it didn’t stop with Him – the apostles had a similar reputation. They were the ones who turned the world upside-down! (Acts 17:6) They preached the gospel of the resurrected Jesus, the Son of God – and they demonstrated His power & their changed lives to prove it. People couldn’t help but be stirred up, wherever the message of the gospel went.
    1. If that was the reputation of Jesus & of His apostles, then it ought to be the reputation of His church. Is it? When was it that the church became seemingly impotent, unable (or unwilling) to provoke a reaction in others? Perhaps it was when the people of the church became more visible than the reason of the church (Jesus). When Christians live as though they are unchanged by Christ, then the world has no reason to even look to Christ. If we’re going to provoke a response, then we need to show them Jesus

Pilate was just one of the Gentile rulers who would hear Jesus that day. Luke records another, and the scene quickly transitions to the Idumean (Edomite) & part-ethnically Jewish ruler, Herod Antipas.

  • Herod’s insufferableness (6-12)

6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. 7 And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

  1. Pilate found himself in a sticky situation. On one hand, he knew Jesus was blameless of the charges of being an insurrectionist king looking to overthrow Rome. On the other hand, the charges were serious enough that they needed to be fully addressed, lest Pilate find himself in trouble with Rome. He probably wanted to get a little of the pressure off him, and the mention of Galilee by the priests got him thinking. The regions of Galilee & Perea were ruled by Herod Antipas, one of the sons of Herod the Great. Although Herod normally resided in Galilee, he was “in Jerusalem at that time,” and Pilate saw an opportunity to pass the buck – at least for the moment.
  2. It ought to be noted that the account with Herod is unique to Luke, being unmentioned by the other gospels. Because of this, it has been attacked by liberal scholars as being imagined by Luke. Yet, what would be the purpose? Luke had nothing to gain by including Herod Antipas in his account of Jesus’ trials, and Herod was long gone from Judea by the time Luke wrote – having been exiled from Judea by the emperor Caligula, with his nephew Agrippa receiving his land and title. Bible students might recall that it was Herod Agrippa who heard Paul’s own testimony regarding the Jewish accusations against him. Another Roman leader of Judea (Festus) invited Herod Agrippa to hear Paul’s side of the story, and Agrippa almost himself came to faith in Jesus (Acts 25-26). The point? Although this account might be unique to Luke, it’s not unreasonable. As a historian, Luke has repeatedly shown himself to be truly accurate, and there simply is no reason to doubt him. Considering one of the members of Herod’s household eventually came to faith and was a leader within the church of Antioch, the base of ministry for Paul & Barnabas (Manaen, Acts 13:1), it’s quite possible Luke received the information from him – giving us a fuller picture of the various rejections Jesus endured.

8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him.

  1. Herod may have been “exceedingly glad” to see Jesus, but it was for all the wrong reasons. Herod sought a sign; not a Savior. He looked for a miracle & a magic show. Herod Antipas had heard of Jesus for “a long time,” at one point even fearing that Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead (9:7-9). He perhaps even remembered his father’s failed attempt to kill Jesus in His youth (Mt 2:16), having pieced together that the claims of the king born in Bethlehem belonged to this prophet claiming to be Christ. Whatever his thoughts of Jesus had been in the past, he now finally had the chance to see Jesus for himself. This was his opportunity to see if Jesus was worth all of the fuss – if He was worthy of all of the rumors.
  2. What is clear is that Herod had no interest in Jesus as the Son of God. If he had, he would have feared at least the possibility of truth. All that intrigued Herod was the possibility of miracles. He didn’t want the Lord; he wanted a light show.
    1. Sadly, this is how many churches treat Jesus today! Forget about the skeptics for a moment, and consider some of those who truly believe that Jesus is God. How many of the people who show up to a healing crusade service are truly seeking the Lord as the Lord? It’s impossible for us to know what is in another person’s heart, but it’s no stretch to say that many who to go to scheduled “signs and wonders” events are going for the miracles; not for the Lord Jesus. When people show up to a church service expecting to see gold dust appear in their Bibles, or to see people supposedly getting “high” on the Holy Spirit, or expecting to receive a miracle by getting kicked in the chest from a self-proclaimed prophet – very little of that has anything at all to do with Jesus being the Lord God of Creation. That stuff is entertainment & personal ecstatic experience; not recognition of the Resurrected Jesus and worship of God in spirit and truth. In the end, it’s barely different than Herod Antipas: a desire to see a magic show; not a desire to see and know the Messiah.
    2. Can Christians ever expect to see miracles from Jesus? Yes – every time a sinner is saved, someone has been brought from spiritual death to spiritual life. The miraculous happens every single time someone is made a new creation in Christ. Jesus does miracles every day! And yes, sometimes He does other more visible things – some of us have personally experienced miracles of God. But those signs are not why we seek Jesus. They never are! Even in the apostolic age, the miracles written of in the New Testament were done to point people to Christ; not to call attention to themselves. True miracles of God are a means to an end; not the end themselves. Those who seek a miracle without seeking Jesus waste their opportunity. 

9 Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing.

  1. Herod questioned; Jesus refused to answer. Jesus hadn’t provided much answer to Pilate, but it seems that He remained totally silent with Herod. And why would He? Jesus did not need to dignify Herod’s request for miracles with a response. Herod may have been an appointed leader within the Roman empire, but Jesus did not answer to him. God is God; and Herod wasn’t God.
    1. Neither are we! The only reason we can approach God is because we are invited to do so through Jesus Christ – but we go to Him on His terms; not ours. We don’t go to Jesus demanding things from Him. We don’t go, pounding our fingers into certain Bible verses, supposedly “claiming” those promises for ourselves, insisting in prayer that God had better deliver on them. That’s not faith; that’s rebellion. That’s us putting ourselves above God, pretending that we are the Lord & He is our servant. And it is sinfully backward. Yes, as born-again believers in Jesus, we are invited to freely go to God in prayer, boldly so – and we are invited to pray in faith, believing His promises to be true…but always in reverence and humility. Jesus is the Lord; not us. He is God & we are His humble servants.
  2. That Jesus refused to answer Herod demonstrates a key truth that surely irked Herod to his core: Jesus was in control; Herod wasn’t. No matter his ranting or whining (or whatever it was Herod did at the time), he could not threaten or manipulate Jesus into a response. He could not force his own way. Even as a prisoner in Herod’s house, Jesus was fully in control of the situation, and Herod could do nothing about it.

10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. 11 Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate.

  1. Jesus had not gone to Pilate alone. At least a few (if not all) of “the chief priests and scribes” who had gone with Jesus to Pilate followed Jesus to Herod. Just as they did with the Roman, they did with the Idumean. They were always accusing Jesus, always bringing more charges against Him. It was as if they didn’t trust the evidence to speak for itself (which it didn’t!). No doubt, the Jews were trying to force/manipulate the outcome. Too often, it is the loudest voice that wins the argument, and that was the tactic of the priests.
  2. By this point, Herod was all too willing to go along. Like Pilate, Herod Antipas had no real reason to appease the Jewish priests, though there was a faction among the Jewish leadership that supported him (the Herodians). Even so, Jesus’ refusal to answer apparently got under his skin, and he turned Jesus over to his guards for mockery. For Jesus to be “treated with contempt,” was for Him to be treated as worthless – someone who deserved maltreatment. For Him to be “mocked” was for Him to be subject to derision, even supposedly tricked into making a fool of himself (something that wouldn’t happen with Jesus, though attempted by the Herodian guards). Basically, it was similar to the treatment Jesus had earlier received with the Sanhedrin officials. This had become a cruel playtime for Herod & his “men of war.” They wanted to toy with the Man claiming to be King. Hence, the “robe” they draped on Him. It was a “gorgeous,” or “splendid/brilliant” robe – something that might be found on a king. If that was Jesus’ claim, then they would cruelly dress Him for the part.
    1. It’s been 2000 years, but people still mock the Messiah. In our postmodern western culture, it seems that Jesus is mocked more than ever! Atheists routinely ridicule those who believe in “imaginary” tales and “ignorant” myths about God. Some go so far to claim that Jesus was morally evil, in that He healed some blindness, without healing all blindness, picking & choosing the miracles He performed. Whatever the argument, they take the gracious revelation of God in Jesus, and spit in His face.
    2. How ought Christians to respond to such things? How did Christ respond? He died for them. Think of it: when Jesus died upon the cross, He died just as much for Herod & his thugs as Jesus died for everyone else. Jesus died for the sins of the truly despicable – you & me included! When hated, Jesus did not hate – when insulted, Jesus did not insult. Instead, He gave Himself as a sacrifice & serves as our example: 1 Peter 2:21–24, “(21) For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: (22) “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; (23) who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; (24) who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” How do we respond when mocked by the world for following Jesus? We keep following Jesus! We walk in His example, forgiving those who sin against us & we commit ourselves to our Heavenly Father, trusting Him to work His ultimate plan. We walk by faith, not by sight – knowing that God will be glorified as we testify of Jesus in our attitudes and our actions.
  3. Why did Herod send Jesus back to Pilate? Jesus was Galilean, but everyone was still in Jerusalem at the time. Herod had a lot of freedom as to how he treated Jesus as a prisoner, but he had not authority within Jerusalem to execute Him. Even if Herod thought Jesus to be innocent, he didn’t care to free Jesus any more than Pilate. Obviously, Herod did not believe Jesus to be a threat (which is why he didn’t fear to mock Him), but Herod also didn’t want to act on Jesus’ behalf. So he sent Jesus back to Pilate to die, leaving the choice in Pilate’s hands as to how to proceed.

12 That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.

  1. It’s been said that “politics makes strange bedfellows,” and it’s proven true here! Pilate and Herod had previously been rivals (Pilate replacing Antipas’ brother Archelaus as the ruler of Judea, the region falling out of the hands of the Herodian dynasty & directly ruled by Rome). However at this point, the two men found at least one thing in common: they each rejected the King of the Jews. They had a common disdain of Jesus.
  2. The same thing happens the world over today. People who are otherwise enemies of each other still hate the people of God. They find common cause in opposition to Christ.


As the terrible day continued for Jesus, so did the world’s rejection of Him. First it had been the Jews, now it was the Gentiles. Jesus was delivered over to two very different Gentile leaders of the day, and came out with the same result.

At first glance, the two men appear very different. Pilate was indifferent, not caring whether or not justice was done or whether Jesus lived or died. Herod was insufferable, wanting Jesus for entertainment value, and extracting it from Him through mockery once he didn’t get his miracles. Both rulers were in sin, asserting themselves over the Son of God & rejecting Him as God. It was bad enough they did not recognize Jesus for who He is – it was far worse for them to turn Him over to death, turning their back on Him altogether.

As Christians, we might ask what it is we learn from these men. After all, they were plainly unbelievers, so what is it that a believer needs to know about them? First of all, we cannot assume everyone who reads Luke 23 is actually a believer! Many people are in the same boat as either Pilate or Herod, having dismissed Jesus as insignificant or irrelevant. How wrong that is! Can you imagine the moment that either Pilate or Herod died on earth, only to immediately look into the eyes of their Judge, finally realizing Who they mocked & dismissed? Sadly, multitudes of skeptics, atheists, and even cultural Christians (in name only) will experience the same thing. Don’t be one of them! See Jesus for who He is, and respond to Him in faith!

Second, as we come to Christ, we need to do so on His terms. Why is it we seek Jesus? Do we really want truth, or are we looking for an excuse not to believe? (Like Pilate.) Or perhaps like Herod, we want miracles & supernatural signs, but have no desire for a Savior & Lord? 

Third, if you have come to Christ in sincere faith, humbly submitted to Him, now we are to walk in His footsteps. We walk as those who have been changed by Him, stirring up the people around us to see Jesus. We walk as those forgiven by Him, freely extending that same forgiveness to others. 


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