10The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him; then he put an elegant robe on him, and sent him back to Pilate.
By-standers can help or hurt or do nothing. That is the power they hold in their hands. We are often the witnesses to injustice and choose either to let it continue, or, regrettably, to fan the flame of hatred. How often do we help? Here, they fling accusations like stones and it draws Herod and his crew into this orgy of hatred. An angry mob is highly contagious. How quickly our curiosity can turn to contempt when we don’t get what we want. Contempt for not bending to our will. How quickly we reject those who do not give us what we feel we deserve. What began as questions turns to mockery when not answered to our liking. Adorned in a fine robe, heavy with sarcasm and vicious irony. Humiliation is the goal now. Humiliate him and hand him over. The by-standers are where the real power lies. Had they been set on saving him, they could have. But they were not. They wanted him dead. And they are the ones who get their way.
Image: “Christ before King Herod (scene 14)” by 13th century Italian painter, Duccio Buoninsegna.