When Jesus is born Herod, in fear of losing his power, kills all children under the age of 2. But when Jesus is brought before him he doesn’t condemn Jesus to die even though the charge is he is claiming to be a king? What gives?
So at first I was incredibly confused that this Herod who had killed all the innocent children would not himself put two-and-two together (just 30 years later) and realize that it was possible for Jesus to be the one whom he had sought to destroy.
But then I checked with someone who knows much more than I do and I was informed that the Herod of Jesus’ Passion is the son of the Herod of Jesus’ Birth. Makes sense since in Matthew 2: 14-15 we learn “14Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt.15* He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophetd might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” –so yes Jesus before The Herod doesn’t make sense given that he was dead.
However, why is it that Herod’s son doesn’t fear adult Jesus when his father had feared infant Jesus so much? Surely this Herod would have to have known about his father’s actions, right? And yet, when the time Jesus came before him his answer wasn’t “Definitely death” but instead was that he had been intrigued/curious about Jesus and was”very glad to see Jesus” and eventually just sent Jesus back to Pilate??
I’m guessing this is where historicity creeps into the Gospels and colors things a little. Luke’s Gospel is written for the Romans (http://www.usccb.org/bible/luke/0) — “Luke is concerned with presenting Christianity as a legitimate form of worship in the Roman world, a religion that is capable of meeting the spiritual needs of a world empire like that of Rome. To this end, Luke depicts the Roman governor Pilate declaring Jesus innocent of any wrongdoing three times (Lk 23:4, 14, 22). ” [I know that says “Pilate” there but we also have Herod declaring Jesus innocent — and therefore what’s left is the religious community not political powers who are guilty of putting Jesus to death –which makes things all nice and neat in terms of keeping the politics of the times and regions happy…]
But I still don’t understand that if Jesus went before Herod all that happened to him was that they “treated him contemptuously and mocked him”. I’m so confused about how this hell-bent destruction of children ceases when an adult — accused of the things original Herod feared came before the ruler for face-to-face judgment? One one hand – mass annihilation of innocent children; on the other hand refusal of condemning one innocent man.
Also, this Herod killed John the Baptist, right? So on one hand he was alright with killing innocent people, but on the other he wasn’t?
This is an area I need to learn more about — But I at least wanted to note my confusion about these things… Anyone out there know how to make understanding this less confusing???
Matthew 2: 16-18 The Massacre of the Infants.16When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.17Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: 18* e “A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.”
Luke 23: Jesus Before Herod.6* On hearing this Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean;7and upon learning that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod who was in Jerusalem at that time.e8Herod was very glad to see Jesus; he had been wanting to see him for a long time, for he had heard about him and had been hoping to see him perform some sign.f9He questioned him at length, but he gave him no answer.g10The chief priests and scribes, meanwhile, stood by accusing him harshly.h11[Even] Herod and his soldiers treated him contemptuously and mocked him, and after clothing him in resplendent garb, he sent him back to Pilate.i12Herod and Pilate became friends that very day, even though they had been enemies formerly.13Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people14and said to them, “You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him,j15nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him.16k Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.”