Last Tuesday, in
"Lessons From Jesus' Trial," Part 3, we learned from the courts of
Pilate that we are to openly live by Truth in such a way that others can
know Truth by simply observing us. We also learned that we are to trust
Jesus' words that those whose ears are opened will hear. Finally, we saw
that we are to pray that God will open the blind eyes and hard hearts so
that as many as possible will hear, will recognize Truth, and will
After this, Jesus is then taken to Herod.
Interestingly, only the Gospel of Luke records this particular part of the story. We see that Pilate really doesn't want to be the one to have Jesus killed, and when he learns that Jesus is from the region of Galilee, which was under the jurisdiction of Herod, and when he remembers that Herod is actually in Jerusalem (See Luke 23:7), he must have considered it his lucky day.
Herod was actually quite pleased with this turn of events, for: "...for a long time he had been wanting to see [Jesus]. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort." (Luke 23:8). Unfortunately for Jesus, Herod wasn't interested in saving Him; rather, he wanted to see a magic show, and he: "...plied him with many questions..." (Luke 23:9a).
Jesus' response? "...but Jesus gave him no answer."
This didn't sit well with Herod, and it also gave the chief priests and teachers of the law more reason to mock Jesus: "The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate." (Luke 23:10-11)
Notice that Jesus could have easily saved himself. Herod wasn't interesting in convicting Jesus. Jerusalem wasn't even his jurisdiction. All Herod wanted was to see Jesus "perform," and all Jesus would have had to do was a single miracle. It was a simple task, but instead, He did nothing. He chose to be accused, mocked and ridiculed when He so easily could have gone free.
But Jesus wasn't in to doing miracles for His own glory. He didn't do them as a means of entertaining or amusing the crowds, and He wasn't about to start doing miracles "on command" to save His own skin. Neither did He need to do miracles to show off His power. Remember that Jesus had given up His power and all of His former glory to come to earth and do the will of the Father in Heaven (see Eph 2:5-8). Instead, Jesus' miracles supported His claim that He was the true God come to Earth to save mankind. His mission was to draw people to the Kingdom of God, and the miracles were the way that the people could see the power of God on the move: "Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father." (John 10:37-38). We also see that through His miracles, prophecies were fulfilled.
If you think about it a bit further, Herod was from Galilee where a large part of Jesus' ministry took place. If Herod was so interested in Jesus, why hadn't he gone out in the streets of Galilee to see Jesus "perform?" No, his interest in Jesus was purely for self-entertainment, and when Jesus refused, Herod joined the others in mocking Him.
What is the lesson we can learn from Jesus in Herod's court?
Friends, even if we are asked to do something that is physically possible, it isn't necessarily the right thing to do. What defines if it is the right thing to do is our motivation. If our only motivation is personal advancement, then it would be best to follow the example of Jesus in Herod's court and--do nothing.
There is just one more interesting point to consider here: As has been pointed out in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, Jesus' habitual response during His trial was silence, and He only responded when commanded to do so. Isn't this what was prophesied of Him 700 years earlier? "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth." (Is 53:7).
Jesus' seemingly endless trial has just one more stop. After the ridicule of Herod's court, they dressed Him: "...in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate." (Luke 23:11). Join us next Saturday for the final lesson from Jesus' trial: Back in Pilate's Palace.
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart
(To Access the entire "Lessons From Jesus' Trial" mini-series, please click here.)