by Pastor Lee Hemen
April 2, 2008
Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge–to the great amazement of the governor. (Matthew 27:13-14)
Can you imagine standing accused of something you did not do and not saying a word in your own defense? Yet, this is exactly what Jesus did. It has puzzled many folks over the centuries as to exactly why Jesus would do such a thing. I know I have wondered about it myself. Isaiah related that the Messiah “was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) Was Jesus mindful of the moment? Was He fulfilling Scripture? The answer I believe is certainly all of these but much more. Jesus was a testimony to who God was and what God was doing in the world.
How often do we try to justify ourselves? I know I fall into this pit when I feel I have been unfairly judged by others. We all do. Someone gets angry with us for no reason while driving and gives us an ungodly salute, we get angry and want to justify ourselves: “What did I do to you!?” We make a statement and someone unfairly takes it the wrong way and gives us a terse response. We want to rear back and puff ourselves up and declare: “Who do you think you are, telling me this when all I wanted to do was help?” We buy some new toy, like a car, appliance, furniture, or such and excitedly relate to a friend about our purchase. Before we can even share the joy of it they say, “Man, I hope you did not buy this brand,” and it is the exact one we did, but they know so much more than us and we feel like such idiots for spending our hard earned cash on such a “foolish” piece of junk. We want to respond, “Well, you may think so but I LIKE my piece of trash!” We work hard on a project at work or school, hand it in, happy to get the job done, and feel good about its quality, but the person we give it to relates, “You did it wrong.” We want to grab it back, roll it up, and smack them a good one across their pin heads. We see our children as growing in God, working hard, and being themselves and someone remarks, “Boy, your little Billy is kind of (insert a stupid comment here)!” And you want to reply, “Well your kid is no (insert a terse ungodly response here)!”
Then, there alone, abused, and deserted by His friends we see Jesus standing by Himself before Pontius Pilate. Silent. Accused of something He was not even guilty of, and He does not say anything in His own defense! His composure and comportment are so startling that it affects Pilate’s own view of Him and his view of Jesus’ accusers. Pilate vainly tries to let Jesus go because he can find no fault in Him. It is Jesus’ silence that amazes him. Most men who would come before Pilate that were falsely accused, and Pilate can see it for himself that Jesus is, would be begging for mercy, would be ranting about injustice, and they would try to plead with him to listen — but not this man. This man, Jesus, is different. He is different than the rest of the human race Pilate has been accustom to. Why?
In His silence, Jesus teaches us so much about grace, character, and integrity. (Rats!) Today, with me, dear little one of the Lord realize anew that your life does not have to be “justified” before anyone by you if God lives in you. Let your silent witness, like Jesus did, be a testimony today in a world of arrogance and selfishness. Today let’s be a testimony to who God is and what He is doing in the world, shall we? Let’s do it by remaining silent when we feel like we should “justify” ourselves.
NOTE: This article is copyrighted by Pastor Lee Hemen © 2008 and the property of Pastor Lee Hemen. You are welcome to copy it, email it, or use it but please if you copy it, email it, or use it you must do so in its entirety. This devotional will follow Morning by Morning by C H Spurgeon. You may use it however you desire.