Herod Antipas was a true scab. He was the same Herod who had John the Baptist beheaded and was, when Jesus came to see him, living in open incest with Herodias, “his brother’s wife” (Luke 3.19). To this indulgent man is Jesus sent to stand trial. But this resembles Kangaroo Court than anything else. Godet says, “Jesus was to Herod Antipas what a juggler is to a sated court – an object of curiousity.” Luke tells us that Herod was “very glad” to see Jesus because he had been desiring to see the miracle worker for some time (see Luke 9.9). Why did Herod wish to see Jesus? To hear another sermon about righteousness and the coming judgment? To hear the good news of the kingdom? Nay verily. He wanted to see a miracle (Luek 23.8). He had hoped to see some sign…and would continue to hope when Jesus leaves for Jesus does not kowtow to the demands of this indulgent ruler.
Herod asks questions of Jesus. What exactly these questions were would be pure speculation as they are not recorded. No doubt some of them focused on the charges brought by His accusers. Others may have been of a more frivilous nature. Nevertheless, Jesus is silent before Herod. I believe we see fulfillment of prophecy here. Isaiah says, “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” speaking of the servant of the Lord (53.7b). Heavily Messianic, Isaiah 53 especially speaks to the suffering of Messiah, but it would seem this verse points to when Jesus is on trial and opens not his mouth, refusing to answer a single word. Indeed, there is no need; the charges are of such a nature and the witness of such a caliber that there is nothing to the charges.
This silence infuriates his accusers, driving them mad with white hot rage. His enemies, with one voice as it were, continue to hurl accusation, “vehemently accusing” Jesus. The wording used here points to a body that is well-tuned and seems to point to the unity of these enemies of Jesus in their attempts to charge Jesus. Its as if they’ve rehearsed this for some time to make sure their stories and charges are all in harmony. If nothing else, even if their charges conflict and Herod can see through, we know they were united in goal: the death of Jesus.
Herod pours even greater insult over the situation with his soldiers as they treat Jesus “with contempt and mocked him.” When it says they “treated him with contempt” this is the idea of treating someone as if they were nothing, a zero. It really is insulting; they treat him as a know nothing, worthless religious enthusiast not even worth the ground He stands on. Its shameful what Herod does, but how many people do the same today? Certainly we can point to atheist websites and material, skeptical journals and discourses which mocked the Holy One. But how many “Christian Atheists” (to use a term coined by Craig Groeshel) live their lives as if Christ is worthless. They “claim” Him as Lord yet they crown “self” as King. The only time Jesus’ stock rises above zero in their life is one hour Sunday morning, if that. Everytime we decide we are going to what we want to do even when it conflicts with God’s Word and Christ’s Will, we treat the Savior with contempt. He means absolutely nothing to us if He does not mean absolutely everything.
Jesus is also mocked by Herod. That is, He is laughed at, ridiculed, and made fun of. Yet another detestable, dispicable display by a decadent dictator. Surely this goes hand in glove with their arraying of Jesus in “spledid clothing.” Clarke in his commentary believes the word “splendid” or “gorgeous” perhaps points to the brilliance or whiteness of the robe. It was the custom of Jewish dignitaries to wear white robes and Clarke this is what Jesus was clothed with. Herod does not realize that he points this royal robe upon the true King of Kings and the one able to give him a true white robe (Rev 3.4-5). Having thus adorned Jesus, Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate.
Luke adds a sort of epilogue onto this account focusing on Herod. In verse 12, we find out that because of this gesture by Pilate (recognizing the jurisdiction of Herod), Herod and he become bosom buddies. Previously, there was some hostility, history being silent concerning its origin, though some do point to the slaying of Galileans as a possiblity (Luke 13.1, 2). But they unite against God’s anointed and forge a fast friendship. “How often has the strange sad scene been reproduced in the world’s story since! Worldly men apparently irreconcilable meet together in friendship when opportunity offers itself for wounding Christ!” (Pulpit Commentary, Luke, p.236) One writer concludes, “In all this horrible picture, no figure appears so ignominious as Herod.” Indeed, seeing the graphic picture painted by Luke in this account, one would have to agree.