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JB Phillips renders Luke 23:11 this way: “So Herod joined his own soldiers in scoffing and jeering at Jesus.” Herod Antipas was the son of that Herod the Great who tried to kill Jesus when he was a child in . finally gave him authority over the region of so he was prince over Jesus because Jesus grew up there. Can you imagine? What a strange wild world this is.
Some Pharisees pretending to do Jesus a favour warned him out of their area because, they said, Herod intended to kill him but Jesus dismissed the prince with a trenchant response: “Go tell that fox…” (Luke 13:31-33). John Watson supposed him to be calling Antipas “moral vermin”. Ouch!
Antipas had dumped his Nabatean wife to marry Herodias, his half-brother’s wife, stupidly made a promise to a dancing girl and too gutless to take it back he slaughtered John the Baptist and then worried himself sick when he heard of Jesus, thinking John might be alive again. Calmer now he has Jesus before him and wants to see a miracle, wants to hear what Jesus will say and Jesus wouldn’t give him the privilege of either a word or a deed. So the sneering began and the laughs rang out and they dressed the poor fool up; the way they dressed up Quasimodo as The Prince of Fools in Hugo’s great novel.
Astonishing and pathetic at the same time. Profane though he was this prince wouldn’t have desecrated the temple or torn up a sacred scroll and yet he abused one in whom God in all his goodness dwelled and sneered at the one who was the living Word of God.
Our tragic sin and sickness isn’t over! For to this very day we show respect to a passing funeral, tip-toe into a church building with head half-bowed and bind our Bibles with leather to protect them while we despise living temples of God all around us, smugly looking down on those who fight an awful battle against sin and circumstances and with curled lips whisper “stories” about those for whom the Lord has died, leaving them open to hurt, isolation and profound depression.
When will it end?
It will end!