Show Me The Miracles: Herod Antipas Is Just Like Us Before We Come To Christ

Posted: May 20, 2015 in Gospel of Luke

Luke 23:8-12 —Awhile back there was a line from the movie, Jerry Maguire, where Cuba Gooding’s character kept shouting, Show me the money! Here in this passage, I envision a similar scene where Herod Antipas is saying, “show me the miracles!” This phrase can be translated to us before we come to Christ ourselves. We want proof. We need something more. But before we jump into that point. To add to the power of this story, we must understand the historical background around the scene in this passage.

Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea, son of the former king of what was the northern kingdom of Israel, Herod the Great. When Herod the Great died in 4 BC, the Jewish kingdom was divided between Herod Antipas and his brother, Archelaus. Archelaus was given rule over Samaria and Judea. After Archelaus proved to be a totally ineffective and mentally unstable leader, he was removed from office and the roman governorship over Judea and Samaria was established. There was lack of trust between Pilate and Antipas. Antipas had been a ruler much longer than Pilate but yet Pilate, Antipas, feared could have Antipas replaced at any time just like Rome did with Archelaus. There is an old saying that politics makes for strange bedfellows. This saying is used often to describe how sometimes events and circumstances create alliances among political rivals so that they each can use the situation to get what they each respectively want. No situation is more true that what to do with Jesus.

Pilate inadvertantly gives validity to Antipas’ rule over Galilee and Perea by sending Jesus to him instead of dealing with Jesus himself. Now, Antipas would no longer feel threatened by Pilate. And because Antipas did not know what to do with Jesus either, he gives a tip of the hat to Pilate’s rule. From this point, their relationship softened toward each other and a mutual respect developed. This Jesus situation united them.

With this backdrop behind us, we see that Antipas was not at all interested in determining Jesus’ guilt or innocence. He had heard much about Jesus and the miracles that He had performed. He was also troubled by Jesus’ popularity and how He entered Jerusalem as a king to the shouts and delights of everyday man in Jerusalem. He was more interested in Jesus’ celebrity than anything else. He wanted to see this guy that had the temerity to be considered the Messiah and a king. Show me a miracle, Antipas clamors. Show me a miracle! What would have Antipas done if Jesus had performed a miracle? Would he have believed then? That is the question that we must answer ourselves about this Jesus. In Antipas’ case, I think a performance of a miracle would have simply made Antipas feel threatened by Jesus and he would not have believed. He would most likely have seen Jesus as a threat to His rule.

However, it does raise the question for us. What are you waiting on to believe in Jesus Christ? Are you bargaining with him that you will believe if He performs a miracle for you? You will believe in Him if He gets you out of the mess you are in – a mess that you have created yourself by your poor choices and your rebellion against God’s Word. Perform a miracle Jesus so that I can believe. Antipas was the same way. I am not going to believe you are who you claim to be until I have proof. We have gone about making the world about us rather than to God’s glory. We have eliminated God from our conversations because we cannot see Him. We have made Jesus a great philosopher rather than the Son of God because that would mean that there is a God and that all of rebellion of trying to make the Bible invalid in the world is wrong. We have so rationalized everything as being the following result of a big bang theory that we do not need God anymore. God was a figment of our imagination and was used by men to control others. If Jesus is the Son of God rather than just a great philosopher, well, then, hold on, that means there is a God and there is a judgment coming. If Jesus is the Son of God, we are going to need proof to change our mind. We won’t change the flow of culture until we have proof. Jesus perform a miracle and then I will believe. Jesus has already given us the sign.

He rose from the death like Jonah being spit up from the belly of the whale. Jesus conquered sin and death on the cross and through the empty tomb. That is the miracle. That is what we have to have faith in. We can all give credence to the existence of Jesus Christ. All people on the planet and from two millenia of history know that Jesus existed. However, it takes faith to believe He is the Son of God. It takes faith to believe that He is who He says He is. That is the miracle. When we accept Christ as who He says He is, that is the miracle. Our eyes are opened and we can finally see. As Paul said, all of this Christ stuff is folly to the non-believer even when there is ample evidence that there is a God and that He loved us so much that He sent His Son for us to die for our sins. It is folly until the miracle of faith happens. Are you ready to believe in Jesus Christ? No more demands for proof. It is time for faith. It is time for the Holy Spirit to enter your heart and open your eyes to who this Jesus Christ is – the Son of God, not just some philospher. Open your heart. Have faith. Believe…

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