It’s almost hard to believe, but after five or so months, this week we’ll be finishing up our study of the book of Luke. Today, we look at a moment that I’ve always found to be very interesting, and that’s the way Jesus carried himself throughout his interrogation and trial before being crucified. As we pick up in chapter 23, Jesus has been questioned by the Roman Governor, Pilate, who sends him off to be questioned by Herod since Jesus was from the region of Galilee and Herod was over that region. Here’s how Herod felt about the situation.
Luke 23:8 Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle.
Every single time I read it, this verse rubs me the wrong way. He was delighted for the opportunity to see Jesus, because he wanted to see him perform a miracle. Now look, I want to see Jesus perform miracles too, don’t get me wrong, but it’s clear here that Herod’s reasoning for wanting to see a miracle isn’t pure. He’s looking at this almost like we would if a famous magician was coming to our birthday party. As soon as the magician arrived we’d want to see a trick, we’d want to be entertained. That’s the spirit behind Herod’s attitude here, he wants Jesus to entertain and amaze him. So he starts making some demands of Jesus, wanting to see a display of his supernatural power. He’s got no interest in who Jesus is, doesn’t share his heart for people, isn’t interested in seeing the advancement of the kingdom of God, he’s wants to see a miracle for purely selfish reasons.
Jesus’ reaction to this situation is along the lines of what you might expect it to be.
Luke 23:9 He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer.
Here’s something to remember. If you want something from Jesus, you shouldn’t treat him like a joke. Come to him confused, come to him lost, come to him in pain, dirty, strung out, whatever, but don’t come to him lightly. Don’t play. Jesus could’ve done anything in response to Herod. If I was Jesus in that moment I would’ve been tempted to perform a miracle by creating some sort of monster out of thin air that then ate Herod, thus giving him the miracle he so badly longed to see. Less drastically, Jesus could’ve recreated some past moves of God by making it to where Herod couldn’t speak. But his response to being ridiculed and taken lightly was silence. And I want us to just sit and think about that for a moment.
If Jesus’ response to being taken lightly and ridiculed yet still having something asked of him is silence, that should be a very serious indicator to us of something we should NEVER do. It occurs to me that there are a lot of people alive today that treat Jesus the way that Herod did. Ignore him, don’t follow him, have no concern for who he is and what he’s all about, and have no respect for who he is. I can’t think of a more dangerous action a person can take than for them to take Jesus lightly. You may not follow him, but I’d caution heavily against disrespecting him. He may not have struck down Herod in a creative method as I might’ve done, but silence from Jesus is just as bad as death.
In this moment, his silence didn’t sit well with the people in power.
Luke 23:10-11 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate.
Because he didn’t respond in the manner that they wanted, the men began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. In a certain manner of speaking, I’ve witnessed people do the same to him in my own life. They have a specific demand of Jesus, he doesn’t answer the way they wanted, and so they turn away from him, call him names, doubt his Godhood. Jesus never claimed to be a genie. His miracles aren’t for sale and they’re not on demand for us to call down whenever we feel like it. Every move Jesus made was directed by God and that continues to be the criteria for miracles today. I’ve seen miracle healings take place. I’ve also seen sick people die. It has nothing to do with one being more righteous than the other and everything to do with the fact that God’s will is God’s will and while we are welcome to ask of Him whatever we wish, we are not entitled to the answer of our choosing.
You get a lot of silent no’s when you follow God. As my maturity in the faith has developed I’ve come to ask less and less of God when it comes to specific situations. “Carry out your will in my life, Lord, and help me know with clarity the path on which you want me to walk” is a much simpler and less frustrating prayer than “God, give me this thing with this person and then send me to this place and deliver to me this job”. I still ask for specific things, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it as long as you recognize that the answer very well might be no. Somewhere along the way we seem to have forgotten that it’s when we pray according to HIS will that things move along, and HIS will may not be for me to win the lottery, or for me to get the cute new girl at work, or for me to win the track meet. Learning to recognize and accept the “no’s” of God will clear up a lot of your spiritual and emotional issues, it really will.
We have to make sure we’re approaching Jesus with respect to who he is. He’s our savior, our king, our friend, all of these things, but he’s also the son of God. He is a man who lived a sinless life, the perfect messiah. Remember these aspects of him, speak to him about who he is, about what he means to you, and THEN present your petitions to him in prayer. Chances are, by the time you’re done remembering who he is, you’ll realize that many of the things we think we need to ask for are already covered underneath his incredible lordship. You’ll find your heart lining up with his, and thus your prayer requests lining up more and more with the will of God, and thus getting fulfilled more and more. It’s a magical transformation, one that a man like Herod never had a hope of seeing, because he made the mistake of taking Jesus lightly from the start.
Well, just two more entries in this series and then we’re moving on to something new. It’s exciting times here at the bible blog! I love you all, I hope you’re having a great Monday!
If you need prayer or just need someone to talk to, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.