“That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.”
~Luke 23:12 (NIV).
We can all identify. Suddenly from two’s company, three’s a crowd, and we’re the piggy-in-the-middle—two arch-enemies have an unexpected common goal and we’re the odd one out. We see it in children playing all the time. Life’s fickle sometimes.
In the original setting then, Herod’s raucous laughter and Pilate’s troubling problem... a recipe for collusion sees it necessarily take place. Jesus was a stupid man in the eyes of Herod and a political time bomb in the eyes of Pilate.
But, generally, just as quick as two disparate forces combine they’re inclined to separate once again; perhaps not until they’ve done their damage, however, as was the case with Jesus, cross-bound.
In the contemporary setting, there’s little worse than finding ourselves ensnared by an enemy, someone who’s out for our blood, and then finding double trouble created with devilish ingenuity; they collude with another to compound our problems. These situations occur in workplaces routinely. Yes, we’ve all seen it.
Circumstantially Pilate needed Herod and certainly did his chances no harm to show the native king respect not ordinarily required, after all, the Romans had ‘triple-bottom-line’ political control. Both leaders acceded to each other in the end, reluctant maybe to cast a crucial decision, all as part of a cosmically-relevant one-two that would ultimately send an innocent man, the Messiah, to his death.
But just as these two wicked rulers conspired roundly with each other, uncannily cooperating with God the Father’s cosmic redemptive plan, we too must cooperate with the Spirit of God in the midst of our distress, in patient knowledge of injustice as forces combine to denounce us. We too will be “raised” at the appropriate time; faith says this and we must agree.
We must realise that two people—ordinarily opposed to each other—whilst they come together ‘for such as time as this’ cannot remain that way. Their egos would not allow it; not unless there was some overwhelming objective common to them both that would sustain the alliance. Again, egos strip away any harmony of coalition for the most part.
The lesson for us when we feel placed in the grasp of an abyss is often to simply hold on and wait. Changes to the relationship of the calamitous “threesome” could change back as quickly as it changed to begin with.
After all, we know (don’t we?) that God is in charge—he never leaves us nor forsakes us when we’re acting faithfully.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.