Apr 26 2013 - Luke 22:54-23:12 – Herod and Pilate became friends
The Jewish Sanhedrin judged Jesus worthy of death since he claimed to be the Son of God. But they had no power to execute, so they took Jesus off to Pilate to have the Romans do their dirty work for them. The Jewish leaders accused Jesus before Pilate of claiming that he is King of the Jews – a political charge that they hoped would trouble Pilate sufficiently to want to get rid of him. However, Pilate could find no reason to execute Jesus – he appeared quite harmless to him. Then he learned that Jesus was a Galilean. So Pilate immediately sent Jesus off to stand trial before Herod, the one whom the Romans had set up as king of the Jews – or at least the region of Galilee.
Herod was at first pleased to see Jesus. He had heard a great deal about him and the miracles he had been performing. Herod hoped that Jesus would put on a show for him, but he was soon disappointed. Jesus would not reply to his many questions or do anything to entertain Herod. So his pleasure turned to scorn and "Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate" (Luke 23:11). As a result, Luke tells us, "That day Herod and Pilate became friends – before this they had been enemies" (23:12). They were united in their perplexity and frustration concerning Jesus and united in feeling that they were being forced to take unnecessary action by the Jewish leaders.
Jesus has a way of reconciling enemies. Here they were reconciled in fear of Jesus, fear that led them to humiliate him. More importantly, Jesus is able to reconcile those who were previously enemies of God. This was why Jesus did not defend himself before his accusers but submitted to their humiliation, and ultimately to the cross. His death was to be the means by which we, the enemies of God, would be reconciled to him (see Romans 5:10). More than that, it would be the means by which that wall of suspicion and prejudice between Jew and Gentile would be broken down.
Jew and Gentile leaders were united in opposition to Jesus and in sending him to his death. Through his death, Jew and Gentile would be reconciled and share together in the blessings God promised to Abraham.
And we have now been given a ministry of reconciliation. Jesus has entrusted his followers with the task of mending a fractured world through the message of the cross by which people are reconciled to God and to one another.
In 1994 Rwanda was torn apart by tribal warfare and brutal massacres in which it is estimated that nearly one million people were killed – 700,000 Tutsis being killed by their Hutu neighbours. One might have expected that the wounds inflicted to that society were beyond healing. But there are now remarkable stories of reconciliation coming out of Rwanda. The Gospel message of Christ crucified is enabling people to forgive and be reconciled to those responsible for killing their families. The situation remains fragile, but only Christ can bring healing to such wounds.
Father, we pray today for places where division and hatred seem to have the upper hand and where lives are torn apart in the conflict. Prince of peace, we cry to you to heal the wounds of our world and so to work by your Spirit that you may make wars cease to the ends of the earth. Break the bow and shatter the spear. May all the world be still and know that you are God. May you be exalted among the nations; exalted in all the earth. Lord Jesus, may my words and actions make people friends not in their opposition to you but in common love for you and one another.