Jesus, Granter of Wishes
We often see Jesus as granting everyone’s desires, but this Pollyanna viewpoint doesn’t always jive with Scripture. At one point during Pontius Pilate’s dealings with Jesus, Pilate realized Jesus was a Galilean. Hoping to pawn this difficult case off on Herod, the Galilean ruler, Pilate sent Jesus to Herod.
Now, Herod was no gentleman. We all remember how his niece’s seductive dancing enticed him to chop off John the Baptist’s head. But Herod had great curiosity about Jesus. Delighted to finally meet him, he hoped this itinerant preacher would do something wild and amazing.
Jesus Refuses a Wish
But a surprising thing happened. [When Herod]peppered him with questions. Jesus didn’t answer—not one word. (Luke 23:9, MSG)
Ouch! For an inquisitive ruler like Herod, Jesus’ silence must have felt like a slap in the face. He held considerable power given him by the Roman Empire. He was able to murder Jesus’ cousin John in cold blood, yet he couldn’t induce this stubborn prisoner to speak.
Maybe he felt humiliated, shamed. Definitely flummoxed. Luke puts it this way: Mightily offended, Herod turned on Jesus. (Luke 23:11, MSG) He had Jesus dressed in an elaborate king costume and set his henchmen to taunt and jeer at him as if Jesus was a clown.
To Grant or Not
What was Jesus’ agenda in refusing to grant Herod’s wish? Obviously not to spare himself misery. His extreme self-control revealed that even in this dire life-and-death situation, he still maintained power over himself. He made no effort to appeal to Herod’s curiosity or placate him with responses.
In retrospect, by remaining silent Jesus made Herod the buffoon, though Herod lacked the wisdom to see past the moment when he thought he was in charge. But our Lord gave us a powerful snapshot in this scene from His passion. Odd as it may seem, Jesus showed us that at times the best way to deal with someone is to withhold the fulfillment of their desire.
Help us, Father, to listen to your specific guidance in all our dealings. Help us know when to grant and when to refuse the wishes of people around us.