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Sermon by the Rev. Dr. George Hermanson, "You Have to Sing the Blues to Feel the Joy."
Luke introduces us to this Herod back in Luke 9:7-9. At that point, Jesus had sent out the twelve to practice their ministry. This had further spread Jesus' reputation - right up to the King's ears. As Luke puts it:
(Herod) was perplexed, because it was said by some that John (the Baptist) has been raised from the dead. ... Herod said, "I beheaded John; but who is this about whom I hear such things?" And Herod tried to see Jesus.
Chapter 9 of Luke then continues with the feeding of 5,000 men plus women and children; the declaration by Peter that the disciples say he, Jesus, is the Messiah; Jesus saying they are now headed to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will undergo great suffering, be killed, and on the third day be raised; and the story of the Transfiguration, Luke 9:28-36; etc. The following chapters continue to heighten the tension between Jesus and the religious authorities.
But now - surprisingly - it is these same opponents, the Pharisees, who now warn Jesus that apparently Herod has heard enough about Jesus that he wants to kill him. How come they do this?
Turns out that as far as the Pharisees are concerned anyone who is an enemy of my enemy is a friend. That is, the Pharisees are also opposed to Herod - though for different reasons and using different tactics. But in the world of "Who's side are you on?" the Pharisees regard Jesus as on their side as far as Herod goes. Hence the warning.
However, though unintended, the Pharisees warning is much like one of the tests we read about last week, Luke 4:1-13. Except instead of being tested with glory and authority and security - the test is fear. But the Pharisees are still encouraging Jesus to abandon his mission and save himself.