160302 Luke 23:6-12

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 March 2016 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: Luke 23:6-12

Sermon Theme: He Had Been Wanting to See Jesus

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends--before this they had been enemies.

What do you do for entertainment? Maybe you enjoy attending a professional sporting event, or going concerts, or traveling from place to place to watch your child or children participate in whatever activities they are a part of. Maybe at home you enjoy watching television, playing video games or simply sitting down and reading a good book. There are all kinds of things that we can do to entertain ourselves. In our reading tonight, we hear of Jesus being sent away to King Herod. Herod was excited because HE HAD BEEN WANTING TO SEE JESUS. But, we will quickly see, that it wasn't for the right reason that Herod wanted to see him. Herod simply wanted to be entertained by Jesus.

The Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, really didn't want to be bothered by the Jewish leaders and their charges against Jesus. He was trying everything he could think of to rid himself of this case. As we read in verses 4 and 5 of Luke 23, "Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, 'I find no basis for a charge against this man.' But they insisted, 'He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.'" After hearing this bit of news, Pilate thought here was his chance to get rid of Jesus. We are told, "On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time."

And King Herod had been wanting to see Jesus; but for all the wrong reasons. We read, "When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle." Herod wasn't wanting to see Jesus to hear him proclaim that he is the Savior of the world. After all, it is in Luke chapter 13 that we are told, "Some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, 'Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.' He replied, 'Go tell that fox, "I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal." In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day--for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!'" King Herod didn't have any interest in hearing the Gospel. Herod simply wanted to have Jesus entertain him by doing some "magic tricks" for him.

When Jesus refused, then we are told that Herod "plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer." The Bible does not give us the details of what questions Herod asked Jesus. But his questions may have included this that read about in Luke chapter 9, "Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was going on. And he was perplexed, because some were saying that John had been raised from the dead, others that Elijah had appeared, and still others that one of the prophets of long ago had come back to life. But Herod said, 'I beheaded John. Who, then, is this I hear such things about?' And he tried to see him." All the while that Herod was questioning Jesus, Luke reports that "The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him." When it was clear that Jesus wasn't going to "play their game" or answer any of their questions, we read that "Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends--before this they had been enemies." As we are looking at different ironies of our Savior passion, it is ironic that the way two political enemies became friends is by mocking Jesus!

King Herod had been wanting to see Jesus, but for all the wrong reasons. Now, before we shake our heads and point an accusing finger, you and I will have to confess that there are times when we act just like King Herod. You and I like to be entertained. And from time to time, we may find ourselves complaining that our worship services aren't "entertaining" enough. We expect Jesus to be that "magic man" who will perform any miracle for us that we ask him to perform. You and I go to Jesus in our prayers, and get angry or frustrated when we don't get the answer we think we should get. You and I are just as guilty as Herod and his soldiers when we mock Jesus by acting one way on Sunday Mornings but a whole different way during the rest of the week. And what such sin and sinful attitudes deserve is only the eternal wrath and anger of our holy and just God.

Yet, in Isaiah chapter 53, we read this wonderful Good News about our Savior, Jesus: "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken."

For you and for me, Jesus our Savior willing set aside the full use of his power and glory. Instead, he allowed his enemies to mock him, beat him and crucify him. In his great love for you and me, Jesus was willing to be "stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted." And because Jesus was willing to do this in your place and mine "the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Through Jesus Christ, our one and only Savior, you and I are healed of the disease of our sins. Because of Jesus, you and I enjoy the full and free forgiveness of all of our sins. Because of our Savior, you and I are able to look forward to seeing Jesus forever in the perfect joys of heaven!

There are many entertaining things that you and I can do to fill up our time each day. And those entertaining things that are not contrary to God's will in our lives are indeed a blessing from him; a blessing he wants you and me to enjoy. But, it is my prayer for each and every one of us here this evening that when it comes to using our gift of time, a top priority for you and me is wanting to see Jesus! Amen.

 

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