Luke 23 v 9. “He plied him with many questions but Jesus gave him no answer.”

Herod is a strange and pathetic figure as he appears in the account of the trial and crucifixion of Jesus. His personal ambition and immorality, as well as who he was and how he fitted into the scheme of things can easily be tracked on the internet. Suffice it to say that he did something so terrible to himself, we should all sit up and take notice.

This Herod that appears in Luke 23 is not the same as the Herod who killed all the babies (Matthew 10:6-18). That murderous Herod was the father of the Herod who appears before our Lord.

But his close acquaintance with spiritual matters began when he decided to marry his brother’s wife. In doing so he incurred the wrath of John the Baptist. This story is told for us in Mark chapter 6. Because his wife Herodias was angry at John publicly proclaiming their sin she had him imprisoned. She was vindictive and determined to see the end of him.

But a strange twist of events took place in John’s prison cell. A frequent visitor was Herod himself. He was in some way fascinated by John. We are told he favoured and protected him, knew he was a righteous man and liked to listen to him. He was affected by John in a deep way.

But then there came that fateful moment of choice recorded in Mark 6:21-29. Herod made the fatal mistake of suffocating his conscience and giving in to the crowd – he had John the Baptist beheaded.

It is a dangerous thing to suppress the conscience. On the one hand the conscience can become so hardened it feels nothing anymore. Truth has no impact upon it. On the other hand a suppressed conscience can trouble us in other emotional ways in years to come.

Judas hanged himself. Herod suppressed his conscience. Finally when Herod had the opportunity to be face to face with Jesus he asked him all kinds of questions. The only comment the scripture gives about this encounter is: “but Jesus gave him no answer”.

Silence! No more word from God. He had been given a priceless opportunity with John the Baptist. Now there is no more word for him.

Makes you think, doesn’t it?