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. (Luke 23:11)
When Herod Met Jesus A Second Time
The dynasty of the Herods fills the pages of scripture. Herod the Great ordered the slaughter of the young males in Bethlehem, where Jesus was born. His son, Herod Antipas, murdered John the Baptist. Herod Antipas had heard of the fame of Jesus but never met Him. He wanted to see Jesus, and the opportunity never came. When the early church began, Herod Agrippa, grandson of Herod the Great (the son of Aristobulus, whom Herod had put to death), had James killed. Agrippa would die a horrible death of worms for taking on the glory of God. Three Herod families filled the land with violence, hatred, and murder. The second Herod finally had his day when he could meet Jesus face to face. It would be a day he would never forget.
After His arrest, Jesus endured the trials by the Jewish leadership and was taken to Pilate. Hearing that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate pawned Jesus off to Herod, hoping to wash his hands of the case. Herod was excited to see Jesus as he had desired to meet him. Herod had been hoping for a long time to see Jesus perform a miracle. When the Lord came before King Herod, he asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. All the while, Jesus stood before Herod; the Jews shouted their accusations against Him. Jesus remained silent. Herod was not accustomed to men ignoring him and called his soldiers in to punish the man from Nazareth.
Herod began to mock and ridicule Jesus. His soldiers treated Jesus with contempt. As men of war, they had no compassion for the little man in front of them who remained silent. Their insults were cruel as they spit upon Him, slapped Him, laughed at Him, and cruelly taunted their victim. They put a gorgeous robe on Him to make the picture more humiliating. Tired of their taunts, Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate, thinking he would never see Jesus again. Jesus was condemned to die and crucified as an enemy of the Roman state. Herod probably read the report and was glad to have the matter settled.
The rule of Herod did not end well. He was banished by Caligula and died in exile around 39 A.D. On the scale of human history, Herod Antipas was an insignificant part of Roman history. He and his soldiers had the Son of God standing before them, and they treated Him with the most contempt and vile manner as any despot. What changed was when Herod and his men woke in eternity and saw face to face the One they had treated so cruelly. They were no longer taunting, jeering, spitting on, slapping, or laughing. The dark reality of torment lunged before their faces as they stood before the great I Am. He was their victim in life, but now He is their judge.
Herod thought he was a man of power, and, for a time, he was. What makes the stories of despots so futile is the realization that when they stand before the Creator, they are dust. The mercy and grace of God were offered to these men, but they refused. They treated men cruelly and viciously, but a day of judgment is where a greater One judges them in righteousness and truth. There is much sorrow and pain inflicted by men in this world. God does not forget. When Herod saw Jesus the second time, Herod was on his knees. Jesus did not treat Herod with contempt. It saddened the heart of the Lord to see the despot kneeling before Him, but God’s wrath is against all ungodliness. The cry of those in darkness will fill the vastness of eternity when they meet the One who judges all men.