Trial Before Herod: A Chronological Harmony

Trial Before Herod

Examination by Herod (Luke 23:8-10)

            Jesus is brought before Herod Antipas. This is the same man who beheaded John because of his wife’s anger at being told that she and Antipas had no right to be married. Herod had been trying to see Jesus for quite a while. Earlier he was convinced that Jesus was John resurrected (Luke 9:7-9; Mark 6:14; Matthew 14:1-2). Not too long before the Pharisees told Jesus that Herod was seeking to kill him (Luke 13:31-32), though Jesus indicated that the warning was political scheme.

            Herod wasn’t interested in Jesus’ teachings or whether he was the Messiah. Herod was hoping for some entertainment. He wanted to see a miracle performed.

            Though Herod spoke at length in questioning Jesus, Jesus did not answer. The chief priests and scribes had also came and where angrily accusing him, but he didn’t reply to them either. As before, there was no honest inquiry or any presentation of witnesses. Jesus was accused of wrong doing with no proof, but that seemed to be sufficient to treat him as a criminal.

Abuse by Herod and His Soldiers (Luke 23:11)

            Unable to get the entertainment he wanted, Herod and his men began mocking Jesus, treating him with contempt. They put a luxuriant robe on him. The Greek word indicates a bright or white robe that shone. The robe was to make mockery of the claim that he was king of the Jews by putting a kingly robe on him.

            But note that they did not release Jesus. There was no judgment or conviction. Instead, he is sent back to Pilate.

Odd Friendship (Luke 23:12)

            Luke tells us that Pilate and Herod had not gotten along in the past. Pilate was ruling the territory once run by Herod Antipas’ brother and his father. The fact that it was put under direct Roman control likely did not sit well with Herod. Nor does Pilate show himself to be a man who has much sympathy for the Jews (such as Luke 13:1). But this short event changed things between them.

            Pilate had shown Herod some respect by sending a case that he could have settled to Herod for his consideration. Herod in turn declined to make judgment and by sending Jesus back he was stating that he would yield to Pilate’s decision. And perhaps their common view of Jesus as a deluded man also told them they were not that far different.