Several years ago I engaged in conversation with a man who I thought because of his questions had an interest in learning about Jesus. My hopes were quickly dashed when he said, “Religion is a hobby for me.” So I learned that his questions were not born out of a sincere desire to know more about Jesus, but out of curiosity.
So it was when Christ was brought before Herod. Luke records that “when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him” (Lk. 23:9).
His joy in seeing Jesus was not because he believed in Him. Or was a seeker of Truth. Or even felt a spiritual need. Herod’s interest was only that of idle curiosity. Personal amusement. Gratifying entertainment. And Herod loved a good show!
He’s The Tetrarch, Herod Antipas, who had become infatuated with his half-brother, Phillip’s wife, Herodias. So, he divorced his wife. Succumbed to his lust. And eloped with Herodias. John, the Immerser, was courageous enough to say, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” For his preaching, he was put in prison. About that time, Herodias, put on a birthday party for Herod. Her daughter danced in a manner ‘that pleased” Herod, and he promised her anything she wanted.
Her request, at the urging of her mother, was the head of John on a platter. Antipas obliged. John was martyred. And the devil smiled.
Herod Antipas cared nothing for righteousness. Godliness. Or truth.
Not only did he murder John, but sought to kill Jesus. The Pharisees, seeking to silence Jesus’ teaching, said, “Get out and depart from here, for Herod wants to kill You.” (Lk. 13:31)
Jesus’ response? “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.’ Nevertheless I must journey today, tomorrow, and the day following; for it cannot be that a prophet should perish outside of Jerusalem.
Jesus called the Jewish Tetrarch, the son of Herod the Great, Herod Antipas “that fox.” It’s not only an insult, but gives us a window through which to see the soul of Herod. A fox is an animal of prey. He is sly. Cruel. Cunning. Clovis Chappel wrote that when Jesus called Herod a fox, “he was describing a man who at heart was little better than a beast of prey.”
Both secular and sacred history let us know that Herod was an evil man. Prideful. Power-hungry. And lustful.
Yet he was glad to see Jesus! Right! But only for his own sport. When he questioned Jesus, the Lord was silent, refusing to cast his pearls before swine. This upset and angered Antipas. Quickly his gladness turned into disdain. The scripture says, “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.” (Lk. 23:12).
His obscene face leers and sneers at the sinless Savior. He didn’t get to be entertained by a miracle that Friday. But what he didn’t know….Sunday was coming! And that day Herod got his miracle. The resurrection of Jesus Christ! Wonder what he thought? What he said? How he acted?
Antipas reminds us of those who seem eager to “see Jesus” but have improper attitudes. Ulterior motives. Or carnal enticements. Like Herod, many today scorn values they should respect. Instead of reverence the name of Jesus has become one of scorn. Contempt. Mockery. Indeed some have sadly turned their back on the Lord, “crucified Jesus again, and put him to an open shame.”
For some today may be just another Friday to be amused, even at the expense of Jesus Christ. But just remember….Sunday’s coming!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman