had never met Jesus, but he had long desired to see Him, and to witness
His marvelous power. As the Saviour was brought before him, the rabble
surged and pressed about, some crying one thing, and some another. Herod
commanded silence, for he wished to question the prisoner.
He looked with
curiosity and pity upon the pale face of Christ. He saw there the marks
of deep wisdom and purity. He was satisfied, as Pilate had been, that
malice and envy alone had caused the Jews to accuse the Saviour.
Herod urged Christ to
perform one of His wonderful miracles before him. He promised to release
Him if He would do so. By his direction, crippled and deformed persons
were brought in, and he commanded Jesus to heal them. But the Saviour
stood before Herod as one who neither saw nor heard.
The Son of God had
taken upon Himself man's nature. He must do as man must do in similar
circumstances. Therefore He would not work a miracle to gratify
to save Himself from
the pain and humiliation that man must endure when placed in a similar
His accusers were
terrified when Herod demanded of Christ a miracle. Of all things they
dreaded most an exhibition of His divine power. Such a manifestation
would be a death blow to their plans, and would perhaps cost them their
lives. So they set up the cry that Jesus worked miracles through the
power given Him by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils.
before this, Herod had listened to the teaching of John the Baptist. He
had been deeply impressed, but he had not forsaken his life of
intemperance and sin. So his heart grew harder, and at last in a drunken
revel he had commanded that John should be slain to please the wicked Herodias.
Now he had become
still more hardened. He could not bear the silence of Jesus. His face
grew dark with passion, and he angrily threatened the Saviour, who still
remained unmoved and silent.
Christ had come
into the world to heal the broken-hearted. Could He have spoken any word
to heal the bruises of sin-sick souls, He would not have kept silent.
But He had no words for those who would but trample the truth under
their unholy feet.
The Saviour might
have spoken to Herod words that would have pierced the ears of the
hardened king. He might have stricken him with fear and trembling by
laying before him the full iniquity of his life, and the horror of his
approaching doom. But Christ's silence was the severest rebuke that He
could have given.
That ear which had
ever been open to the cry of human
woe, had no place for
the command of Herod. That heart, ever touched by the plea of even the
worst sinners, was closed to the haughty king who felt no need of a
In anger, Herod
turned to the multitude, and denounced Jesus as an imposter. But the
accusers of the Saviour knew that He was no imposter. They had seen too
many of His mighty works to believe this charge.
Then the king
began to shamefully abuse and ridicule the Son of God. "And Herod with
his men of war set Him at naught, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a
gorgeous robe." Luke 23:11.
As the wicked king
saw Jesus accepting all this indignity in silence, he was moved with a
sudden fear that this was no common man before him. He was perplexed
with the thought that this prisoner might be a heavenly being come down
to the earth.
Herod dared not
ratify the condemnation of Jesus. He wished to relieve himself of the
terrible responsibility, and so sent the Saviour back to Pilate.
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