Text: Luke 23:7-12
And when he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time.
Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing. And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently. And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate. Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other.
Pilate can see that a Jesus is going to be come a hot potato and decides to send him to Herod who is Tetrarch of Galilee. Herod Antipas was Jesus’ more immediate ruler and ultimately it was he that should have judged Jesus but Herod’s interest in Jesus is not about judging him but it is more like a man who has an interest in magic and wants to see a trick. Herod was kind of like that in that he had a reputation as a bit of a drunk and womanizer and always looking to be entertained. He also was a fierce rival to his brother Herod Phillip who ruled across the Jordan. This rivalry had gone as far a convincing his brother Phillip’s wife to leave him and come be with him. This of course lead to the whole John the Baptist being beheaded incident which I think plays into this part of Jesus’ life.
Herod Antipas and Pilate had been fierce rivals and enemies but according to this passage that very day they had become friends. Herod has already because of a silly oath to a woman killed a man that many believed was a prophet of God. The real issue for him is could he kill another prophet and not face some backlash from his land for doing so. In Galilee Jesus is immensely popular and for Herod to touch Jesus might have started a riot in his own land. When he sends Jesus back I can see also a message that he hopes in honor of their new friendship that Pilate can handle this for him. He knows to kill Jesus would be political suicide in Galilee for him.
Luke is the only one who gives us this incident and this should not surprise us. He also is the only one who talks about how Herod was looking for Jesus to arrest him which I think was a lie propagated by the Jew to scare Jesus away from Jerusalem. According to this passage, much like he had admired John the Baptist, Herod had admired and wanted to speak with Jesus. The problem is Jesus seems to have no interest in talking with him. I think this made him a little angry which is why he seeks to embarrass and humiliate Jesus before he sends him back to Pilate.
Next: Jesus Trial Before Pilate