After Jesus was condemned to death by the Jewish Sanhedrin at the break of day on Thursday of Passion week He was immediately taken to Pilate, the Roman governor. Since the Jews did not have the authority under their Roman oppressors to put anyone to death (lest doing so undermine Rome’s interests by executing Roman allies), they would prosecute Jesus to Pilate for a speedy execution that day before His followers had an opportunity to find out what was happening and mount a protest. But discerning almost immediately that there was no guilt in Him and that it was from envy they had delivered Him up, he was seeking some way to avoid acting unjustly while at the same time trying to appease the Jewish leaders from a political desire to demonstrate his good will, especially at this time of their Passover celebration. Upon learning from their insistent accusations that He was from Galilee, which was under the rule of Herod Antipas, and with whom he was at odds perhaps due to a somewhat similar situation in which he had executed some Galilean pilgrims (Luk 13:1), he quickly saw not only a way out of the difficult situation the Jewish leaders were putting him in, but at the same time a way to smooth things over with Herod. Pilate therefore sent Jesus to him if perhaps he might be relieved of the difficulty, or at the least that he might placate Herod whose involvement would also lessen his own culpability for any repercussions that might occur. What does this remind us about the nature of worldly leadership and politics that is quick to seize the glory and honor when things are smooth, but is just as quick to divide responsibility and shift blame to others when things are rough?
What does Luke record about Herod’s reaction when Jesus unexpectedly appeared before him? See Luk 23:8. What does Luke say was the source of his interest in Jesus? How is that like so many in the world who seek God only as a novel curiosity and would love to see a miracle, but because they don’t seek Him in truth will never see one because they won’t recognize Him even if He was standing right in front of them? When does it appear that Herod’s interest in Jesus was first piqued? See Mar 6:12-16, Luk 9:7-9. From what source might Herod have received information about Jesus? See Luk 8:3. What does this verse suggest was also a likely source for the additional information about Herod contained in Luke’s account that is not found in the other gospels? Cf. Luk 1:1-4. How did Jesus Himself refer to Herod in Luk 13:32? What was it that prompted Jesus to call him a fox, and what might that also indicate about how Herod clearly had Jesus on his radar and was keeping tabs on Him, seeking an opportune time to “pounce” and bring Him before him? See Luk 13:31, cf. Mar 3:6, 8:15, 12:13, Luk 23:8.
Now that the opportunity occurred and Herod was finally face to face with Jesus, what does Luke say happened? See Luk 23:9-10. What things might Herod have questioned Jesus about? Consider that Herod “used to enjoy listening” to John the Baptist and considered him “a righteous and holy man” (Mar 6:20), and that John’s stated purpose of ministry was to prepare the way for the kingdom of one coming after him, whom many believed to be Jesus; see Mat 3:1-3, Luk 3:15-16. In light of his own position as a king over the Jews who was well acquainted with the Messianic hopes of the nation and that the main charge brought against Jesus was that He claimed to be the Christ, what would his main concern be in regard to Jesus? Consider too that Herod was born around 20 BC and so was a young man at the time of Jesus’ birth when his father Herod the Great and “all Jerusalem with him” were troubled that magi from the east arrived to honor Him who was born King of the Jews; cf. Mat 2:1-3. Is it possible that Jesus’ age in potential relation to that event crossed his mind? And yet, as this poor itinerant preacher stood before Him, with the religious leaders ruthlessly accusing Him, and He answered him nothing, what became clear to Herod in regard to any potential threat from Jesus to his reign over his own worldly kingdom? Although Jesus had been sent to him by Pilate and He was now in his power to do with as he pleased, did he consider Him so great a threat as to put Him to death or even keep Him imprisoned as He did John the Baptist? See Luk 23:11,15. What does the contempt and mockery with which he treated Jesus indicate about how small a threat he considered Him to be? And yet, for all his worldly wisdom, what treasure of a kingdom immeasurably greater than his own could Herod not see in what appeared to him as an ignoble jar of clay that was before him? Cf. 2Co 4:6-7. In this way, how was Herod just like all the rulers of this world? Cf. Psa 2:1-12, 1Co 2:7-8. What does this illustrate about the profound difference between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world? Should we imagine that God’s kingdom will ever manifest itself after the manner of the world’s kingdoms? Might those who are seeking such be as disappointed as were the Jews in 70 a.d. who perished vainly awaiting the Messiah to save them from the Romans?
What was the prophetic and spiritual significance that the pseudo-Jew Herod and the Gentile Pilate were reconciled from their enmity that day on account of Christ (Luk 23:12)? See Eph 2:14-15. Whether they be physical Jews or Gentiles, who are the true Jews who compose the Israel of God? See Rom 2:28-29, 9:8, Gal 3:7.
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?