Helmut Gollwitzer, The Dying and Living Lord, 44–5.
So, in His last hours, Jesus was surrounded by people who showed by their behavior what is the real state of man, what that humanity, which He had come to save, is really like, fundamentally. This revelation becomes ever clearer and ever more terrible: first of all there is the fanaticism and the anger of the [Jewish leaders], then the irresponsibility and timidity of the authorities who wield political power; and then finally, as a dreadful climax, the scene at Herod’s palace, where Jesus Christ, the very presence of God upon earth, becomes the sport of Herod and his court. When the Bible wants to show the lost condition of man it does not describe criminals and convicts, but the appalling blindness and unawareness of average human beings, the blindeness of the educated, of the bourgeois, of high officials, the blindness of us all, even people like ourselves, who live in Lichterfelde and Dahlem. Can we ever forget, can we ever cease to hear that scornful chatter, the cruel laughter of the courtiers and their ladies, who join in Herod’s laughter: ‘And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him.’ And was it not inevitable that at this point the two official rulers should come together? The brotherhood of Jesus Christ created fellowship in the Holy Catholic Church beyond all the divisions of the world; it has its counterpart in the brotherhood of those who are Christ’s enemies, which also triumphs over all other causes of disunion: ‘And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other.’