“(Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)” (Luke 23:12 NLT)
Now this is something I had not realised before. In every version of this scene in the questioning of Jesus, I had assumed that Pilate sent Jesus to Herod because he was exasperated, or annoyed or simply out of his depth. But it seems that he did it to curry favour with the King.
So why would sending Jesus to Herod be such a good move for Pilate? We have to say it is because Herod wanted to meet Jesus. Maybe he wanted to mock him, as the soldiers had done. In another verse in this passage, that is what happened. But why?
Remember what John the Baptist said to Herod? He accused Herod of sinning because he had married his brother’s wife. So perhaps, all this time, Herod had been holding a grudge and who better to take it out on? He had already executed John. So he is probably over the moon to find who else but John’s cousin standing on front of him.
But Herod is not stupid. He knows that the religious leaders have plans of their own. Whoever gets Jesus killed will be in a whole world of trouble. At that time, as now, Jerusalem is a mixing pot of different religions and groups. Each vying for power. There is no peace, only an uneasy truce.
Jesus is a trouble maker, that’s true, but he is a trouble maker who will probably just fade away… Isn’t he?
Who would be foolish enough to have him killed? Not Herod, certainly.
So he sends Jesus back to Pilate. And as a gesture of thanks, they become friends.
So Pilate can now safely wash his hands of Jesus and when he is recalled to Rome, he is assured of a good position in the government with Herod by his side.
Sounds like a plan…