STORY OF JESUS 21
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Herod 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 curiosity, or to save Himself from the pain and humiliation that man
must endure when placed in a similar position.
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.
Several years 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
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 Saviour.
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.