Easter is just two weeks away. Luke’s Gospel mentions Herod in his passion narrative. Herod’s Song, from the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, memorializes Jesus’ encounter with Herod. “Get out of my life” are the last words sung in this song. Herod mocks and taunts Jesus by singing: “Prove to me that you’re no fool; walk across my swimming pool.” Herod’s words and actions are offensive to the ears of Christians. As I reflected on this, it occurred to me that all people, at various moments throughout their lifetime, offend Jesus with their actions and words. Do we find our own actions equally as offensive as Herod’s? Perhaps we should. Please read more……..
Herod’s Song, written by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice, was loosely taken from the Gospel of Luke 23:6-16. Herod was the ruler of Galilee. He is widely known for accounts in the New Testament of his role that led to the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth. Herod is presented in the Gospels as a morally bankrupt and disgraceful individual.
Prior to interrogating Jesus, Herod had heard all about Him. He knew the stories of His miracles. In the song he sings: “You’ve been getting quite a name all around the place. Healing cripples, raising from the dead. And now I understand you’re God, At least, that’s what you’ve said.” Unfortunately for Herod, he chooses not to believe in these miracles and instead he uses these stories to make a mockery of the Son of God.
The Pharisees wanted Jesus put to death. They took Him to Pilot, but Pilot in turn sent Jesus to Herod. Herod first wanted to see one of Jesus’ famous miracles with his own eyes. He sings: “Prove to me that you’re divine; change my water into wine. That’s all you need do, then I’ll know it’s all true.” Herod’s pride and ego prompt him to use his power to ridicule our Lord. He continues his mockery of Jesus by singing: “I am waiting, yes I’m a captive fan. I’m dying to be shown that you are not just any man.”
Finally, as we all know from Luke’s Gospel, Herod did not find Jesus guilty of any capital crime. He orders Jesus to be flogged and sent back to Pilot. This eventually leads to Jesus’ crucifixion. The song presents this exchange with these lyrics: “You are nothing but a fraud. Take him away. He’s got nothing to say! Get out. Get out you King of the Jews. Get out of my life!”
I find it both strange and thought provoking that Weber and Rice chose to present this song with Vaudeville like melodies. In the song, our Lord is ridiculed, taunted, flogged and sent back to Pilot to be condemned and yet without thought we are tapping our toes to the whimsical tune. Click here to listen.
Let’s take a look at this from a different perspective. Both Luke’s Gospel narrative and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s song start off with Herod’s desire to see Jesus perform a miracle. In an effort to bolster our own faith, how many times do we beg God to give us some tangible sign of His divinity? Herod was a sinful man, of that there is no doubt. In honesty, we are too. So who are we to demand anything, let alone additional proof of Jesus’ divinity, who after all, loves us so much that He died to forgive our sins?
Herod mocked Christ. He taunted Christ. In the end he hurt Christ by ordering Him to be flogged. Herod was not a Christian. He was not a believer. We are! Do our actions and words reflect the belief in Christ that our lips profess? Do we sometimes make a mockery of everything we say we believe? In what way do our daily actions, or in some cases inactions, hurt the One who died to save us?
Long ago, Herod was forced to answer for his deeds. I presume that at his death Herod found the roles reversed. At that time, he no doubt found himself standing in the presence of Almighty God. Jesus remained silent when Herod interrogated Him. After his death, do you suppose Herod remained silent if Jesus reminded him of the last words he had spoken to Jesus in Galilee ……… Get out of my life? Luke’s Gospel does not say that Herod said these actual words but the song lyrics ascribe them to him and his actions scream them out.
Let’s take a personal inventory today of all of our own actions and/or inactions to make sure that there is nothing that we are doing that sends the message to Jesus: “Get out of my life.” If something needs to be addressed or corrected, let’s do it now, before it is too late.
Heavenly Father, your Son stood silently while being falsely accused. He willing accepted the sentence of crucifixion. He did so out of love for me. He paid the price for my sins. Herod said to your Son: “Get out of my life.” Unlike Herod, Father I am asking you to send forth your Spirit to help me live my life in a way that states: “Jesus come into my life and fill me to the brim.” Amen!
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