When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see Him ... (Luke 23:8a).
Read Luke 23:8-9.
Herod Antipas has no interest in religion. His sole ambition is to reacquire the former kingdom of his deceased father, Herod the Great. At this time he is ruling a quarter of it: Galilee and Samaria. His sights are set south on Jerusalem and Judea. To add that territory to his rule he needs to ingratiate himself to the Jewish leadership, which is why we find him in Jerusalem at this feast.
But Herod has a special interest in Jesus. When the stories about Jesus' miracles first came to his ear, he thought his executed criminal John the Baptist had been raised from the dead (see Matthew 14:2). Since then reports have kept spreading, Herod is anxious to see Jesus for himself (see Luke 9:9).
The ruler questions Jesus at length, but Jesus remains silent. When Herod had gone to speak with John in prison, John spoke at length about sin and righteousness, and God's kingdom (see Mark 6:20). But Herod has no interest in discussing these issues with Jesus. He wants to be wowed. It was this same love of entertainment that led him to behead John the Baptist (see Matthew 14:1-12). Now it leads him to squander his one chance to talk face to face with the Son of God.
Not a single question is judicial. He isn't interested in making a fair ruling. He only sees Jesus' value as an entertainer who could impress other dignitaries and help Herod achieve his political goals. Not a single question was spiritual, about how to be right with God.
How sad that Herod squandered this great opportunity to listen and learn from his Lord, his God, and his Savior.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, forgive me for the times I ignore Your precious Word for me. Open my ears that I may hear and believe. Amen.
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