He looked with curiosity and pity upon the pale face of Christ. He saw there the marks of deep wisdom and purity. He was satisfied, as Pilate had been, that malice and envy alone had caused the Jews to accuse the Saviour.
Herod urged Christ to perform one of His wonderful miracles before him. He promised to release Him if He would do so. By his direction, crippled and deformed persons were brought in, and he commanded Jesus to heal them. But the Saviour stood before Herod as one who neither saw nor heard.
The Son of God had taken upon Himself man's nature. He must do as man must do in similar circumstances. Therefore He would not work a miracle to gratify curiosity, or
to save Himself from the pain and humiliation that man must endure when placed in a similar position.
His accusers were terrified when Herod demanded of Christ a miracle. Of all things they dreaded most an exhibition of His divine power. Such a manifestation would be a deathblow to their plans, and would perhaps cost them their lives. So they set up the cry that Jesus worked miracles through the power given Him by Beelzebub,the prince of the devils.
Several years before this, Herod had listened to the teaching of John the Baptist. He had been deeply impressed, but he had not forsaken his life of intemperance and sin. So his heart grew harder, and at last in a drunken revel he had commanded that John should be slain to please the wicked Herodias.
Now he had become still more hardened. He could not bear the silence of Jesus. His face grew dark with passion, and he angrily threatened the Saviour, who still remained unmoved and silent.
Christ had come into the world to heal the broken-hearted. Could He have spoken any word to heal the bruises of sin-sick souls, He would not have kept silent. But He had no words for those who would but trample the truth under their unholy feet.
The Saviour might have spoken to Herod words that would have pierced the ears of the hardened king. He might have stricken him with fear and trembling by laying before him the full iniquity of his life, and the horror of his approaching doom. But Christ's silence was the severest rebuke that He could have given.
That ear which had ever been open to the cry of human
woe, had no place for the command of Herod. That heart, ever touched by the plea of even the worst sinners, was closed to the haughty king who felt no need of a Saviour.
In anger, Herod turned to the multitude, and denounced Jesus as an impostor. But the accusers of the Saviour knew that He was no impostor. They had seen too many of His mighty works to believe this charge.
Then the king began to shamefully abuse and ridicule the Son of God. "And Herod with his men of war set Him at naught, and mocked Him, and arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe." Luke 23:11.
As the wicked king saw Jesus accepting all this indignity in silence, he was moved with a sudden fear that this was no common man before him. He was perplexed with the thought that this prisoner might be a heavenly being come down to the earth.
Herod dared not ratify the condemnation of Jesus. He wished to relieve himself of the terrible responsibility, and so sent the Saviour back to Pilate.