The Book of Luke, Herod's Interest in Jesus – Lesson 112
We are in Chapter Nine of the book of Luke at that place where the Lord Jesus Christ, having taught his disciples, and them being witness to his ministry of the proclamation of the kingdom of God, now sends them out, two by two to do the work of the Lord.
On this particular mission they were to preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick, being told to bring nothing with them for the journey, relying totally upon God’s provision through those to whom they were to minister.
They went their way relying upon God’s power to work in and through them, so that the people would receive them and their message, as from God, and thus would support them with food and lodging.
The disciples had heard a great deal of teaching from the Lord Jesus Christ.
They had attended every class of the Lord Jesus Christ.
But now they needed to learn to trust in Him and His Word.
It was now the time for practice to take place in trusting Him to give power to their ministry and to meet their needs.
Jesus Christ gave them power and authority, but it is another thing for them to recognize that authority and to exercise that power.
This of course is a common problem, people being given authority and power and not exercising that power.
But this is what they were to sent out to learn in their first missionary campaign; the use of the authority and power that the Lord Jesus Christ had given them.
The command to take no provisions was designed to create an environment of need where faith was required and where obedience was tested.
After this lesson had once been thoroughly learned, they would be ready for their further ministry so that, whether they had something with them or not, their dependence on their Lord would always be the same.
God teaches you a lesson, you learn the lesson, you act on the lesson, and new lessons are taught and to be learned and acted on. This was a lesson on trust.
The bottom line issue for God’s people no matter when is not, “How much do you know?” but, “Who do you trust?”
There is a time for learning but that learning must translate into trusting.
I think this is a problem in the church isn’t it.
Ever learning and never able to come to the truth.
Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.
The disciples, by this experience, realize the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ in a new way.
They are to live and walk by faith, by trusting in His power and faithfulness, even in the absence of His physical presence, for that will be the norm for most of their ministry.
If you intend to serve God you can expect this kind of lesson to be given to you, that you too will learn that God provides and that trusting Him is to be the standard in the Christian walk.
Luke ends this account of the Galilean ministry of the disciples and before describing the feeding of the 5000 in verses 10-17, he interjects a report of the interest that Herod Antipas, the tetrarch is taking in the activities of Jesus Christ.
Earlier in our study from Luke 3:1 we learned the names of those in authority at the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry.
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene.
Rome, under the emperor Tiberius Caesar, had divided Israel into four areas, Judaea, Galilee, Ituraea, and Abilene, and each area was ruled by a tetrarch, which means the ruler of a fourth part of a country.
Luke 9:7‑9, Now Herod (means the form of a hero, heroic) the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; 8And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. 9And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.
(Ludwig=famous warrior, most popular names in 2003 were Jacob (holder of the heel or supplanter, and Emily Medieval feminine form of Aemilius (see EMIL). From the Roman family name Aemilius, which was derived from Latin aemulus meaning "rival".)
The Herod in this passage is Herod Antipas who was the son of Herod the Great and Malthace, a Samaritan woman.
(Antipas is an abbreviation of the name Antipater, who was this Herod’s grandfather, the father of Herod the Great) Herod the Great’s grandfather was named Antipas
He was half Idumean, and half Samaritan, and therefore had no Jewish blood.
He ruled as “tetrarch” of Galilee from 4 bc till 39 ad, during the entire earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.
There is no good thing said about Herod Antipas in the scriptures.
The Pharisees in Luke 13:31 warned Jesus to get out saying that Herod will kill him.
Jesus called him that fox, referring to his cunning and Herod Antipas beheaded John the Baptist because of John’s open rebuke of his gross immorality and defiance of the laws of Moses.
We will in our study of Luke again meet Herod Antipas when his desire is met and he finally meets the Lord Jesus Christ prior to His crucifixion.
History records that his cousin Herod Agrippa I who was his bitter enemy, schemed and accused Herod Antipas of high treason.
This resulted in his being banished to Lyons in Gaul, where history tells us he died in great misery.
From this passage in Luke it is apparent that Herod Antipas kept up to date on Jesus’ teaching and activities.
Jesus was “the talk of Galilee” as we are told in:
Luke 4:14, And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.
Herod, being an evil man, was no doubt also highly suspicious and would be protective of his power and most likely have a secret police, who would have kept track of anyone who was attracting people to his cause and thereby gaining political power.
But also we learned in Luke 8:3 that Joanna, the wife of his household steward Chuza, accompanied Jesus and contributed to His support.
It is easy to imagine Herod getting a daily update from Chuza, whose wife must have kept him informed as to Jesus’ activities.
One thing we do know is that Herod Antipas desired to see Jesus.
Although Herod did not have Jewish blood, his father Herod the Great was an Idumaean by race and Jewish in his religion.
Because of his father and his heritge Herod Antipas considered himself Jewish, and therefore he would have had an interest in the identity of Jesus who was proclaiming the kingdom of God.
Herod was interested in Jesus because of his religion but Herod as king was also interested because Jesus and His disciples were going about his territory, preaching THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
Remember that Herod Antipas’ father, Herod the Great was so fearful of losing his territory that he was threatened by the birth of a the baby Jesus and his fear drove him to order the death of innocent children.
He could not stand any threat to his position.
Herod Antipas, being of the character that he was, would have been uneasy about this Jesus and His teaching.
Anyone preaching about a kingdom not of his would be thought of as a threat.
Prior to this missionary journey of the disciples only a few places in Galilee had been visited, with of course the miracles of healing that went with the ministry of our Lord.
But now with 6 pairs of disciples going from village to village with authority and power to preach and perform miracles, the whole region had been evangelized with the good news of the kingdom of God.
Throughout Galilee there was only one topic of conversation; all men spoke of Christ.
Politically speaking, what the people thought of Jesus would have been more important to Herod than who Jesus really was and any power in his area other than him was a threat to him.
The increasing testimony and wonder expressed by the crowds increased Herod’s agitation and finally he decided it was necessary to see this man Jesus in person.
In addition to this interest Herod was guilty of the murder of John the Baptist, and no doubt was troubled by guilt and by a fear that John may have been raised from the dead.
John may well have spoken of resurrection from the dead in connection with his preaching on the kingdom of God.
Since the message of Jesus (and now His disciples) was the same as that of John, Herod feared that the person was the same also.
Herod was also interested in Jesus simply because he was curious about all the miracles that he had heard that Jesus did.
Herod like many others wanted to see Jesus in order to see a miracle.
We read in Luke 23:8 of the desire, And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.
Herod was eager to see Jesus not for any spiritual reason but only out of curiosity, something like a child being eager to go to the circus and see the performers.
But we know that Jesus Christ does not reveal himself to those coming from a simple curiosity in an effort to satisfy some lust.
Jesus did not go out of his way to court a relationship with the powerful and made sure he would not be near Herod Antipas until the time was right and that time was to be in Jerusalem.
Jesus spent much time in Herod’s area of influence, Galilee, and yet never met Herod until his trial in Jerusalem.
This is certainly in contrast with many preachers today who are glad to court the powerful and the influential and readily go out of their way to do so.
It would seem today that Jesus would have been expected to court Herod personally.
There is always in the back of the mind of such preachers, “Just think what the powerful and the influential can do for my ministry if they were converted.
We need to remember that Herod also was interested in the ministry of John the Baptist and not from a spiritual standpoint for it was not too long after meeting John that he had John beheaded.
Herod could easily have seen Jesus, but he wanted Jesus to come to him, for that would have been a recognition of Herod’s superiority.
Herod was curious about Jesus, but jealous and fearful of losing his political power.
But the kingdom of God is not brought in by human might, nor by political intrigue or schemes.
The kingdom of God is not made up of mighty men, but of those who are child‑like, those who are humble knowing that God is in control.
Herod Antipas was no true seeker and Jesus had no time for him.
Herod would have his day with Christ but it was Christ who would do the choosing of that day and on that day Herod would show his true self.
Luke 23:8-12, And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. 9Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. 10And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. 11And Herod with his men of war set him at nought, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. 12And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves.
But one thing Herod did not realize is that the court of justice will someday be reversed and Herod Antipas will again appear before Christ at the judgment day.
Ecc. 7:8, Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.