Ellen G. White Writings

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The Youth’s Instructor

February 8, 1900

Christ Before Herod

From Pilate, Christ was hurried to the judgment hall of Herod. Herod had never met Jesus, but he had long desired to see him, and witness his marvelous power. As the Saviour was brought forth, the multitude surged and pressed about him. Herod commanded silence, for he wished to question Christ. He desired to have his curiosity gratified, and thought that Christ would do anything he asked, if he was given a prospect of release.

Herod ordered the fetters of Christ to be unloosed. He looked with curiosity into the serene face of the world's Redeemer, but he read there only innocence and noble purity. He was satisfied, as Pilate had been, that Christ had been brought there from motives of malice and envy. He urged Jesus to perform one of his wonderful miracles before him. At his command the decrepit and maimed were brought into the presence of Christ, and he was ordered to prove his claims by demonstrating his power before them. Men say that thou canst heal the sick, Herod said; I am anxious to see that thy wide-spread fame has not been belied. If thou canst work miracles for others, work them now; and it shall serve thee a good purpose.

But the Saviour stood before the king as one who neither saw nor heard. Herod felt that he was mocked. Again he commanded Jesus to work a miracle. Show us a sign, he said, that thou hast the power with which rumor hath accredited thee. He promised Christ that if he would perform a miracle in his presence, he would release him. But Christ preserved alike his silence and his godlike majesty. That ear that had ever been open to human woe had no room for Herod's words. Those eyes that had ever rested upon the sinner in pitying, forgiving love, had no look to bestow upon Herod. Those lips that had uttered the most impressive truths, that had ever pleaded in tones of tenderest entreaty, that had ever been ready to speak pardon to the most hardened sinner, were closed to him.

Some of Christ's accusers had seen with their own eyes the mighty works wrought by his power. Their ears had heard him command the grave to give up its dead. They had seen the grave obey his command, and fear seized them lest Christ should work a miracle and thus defeat their purposes. In great anxiety they raised their voices, declaring, He is a traitor, a blasphemer. He works his miracles through Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. He claims to be the Son of God, the king of Israel. The hall was one scene of confusion, some crying one thing, and some another.

Herod interpreted the silence of Christ as an insult to himself, a contempt for his power. Turning to him, he said: If you will not work a miracle, if you will give no proof of your claims, I will give you up to the soldiers and the people. They may succeed in making you speak. If you are an impostor, death at their hands is only what you merit; if you are the Son of God, save yourself.

No sooner were these words spoken than a rush was made for Christ. The Saviour was mocked, and dragged this way and that, Herod making suggestions as to how they could best humiliate him. And all this against a man who had been pronounced faultless. No accusation could be proved against him. He was the victim of the malice and jealousy of the people who had been the chosen of God.

Satan led the cruel mob in their abuse of the Saviour. It was his purpose to provoke him to retaliation, if possible, or to drive him to perform a miracle to release himself, and thus break up the plan of salvation. One stain upon his human life, one failure of his humanity to bear the terrible test, and the Lamb of God would have been an imperfect offering, and the redemption of man a failure. But he who by a command could bring the heavenly host to his aid, he who could have driven that mob in terror from his sight by one look of divinity, submitted to the coarsest insult and outrage with dignified composure. The crown of thorns encircling his brow was the symbol of his anointing as the great High Priest.

As Herod 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 by the thought that his prisoner might be a god come down to the earth. He dared not ratify the condemnation of the Jews. He wished to relieve himself of the terrible responsibility, and so sent Jesus back to Pilate.

Mrs. E. G. White

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