Art: Antonio Ciseri
Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him,
“Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 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 (Mt 27:11-14 emph mine).
Jesus answered Pilate's question, but He did not answer the charges against Him. He did not say a word in His own defense. He remained steadfast in His silence.
He was silent then. He is silent still.
People continue to make their accusations of Jesus. We question, slander, defame, doubt . . . accuse.
If there is anyone who could have made a convincing argument to win freedom from an unjust verdict, it was Jesus Christ. He made no attempt to present a case. Neither did He try to negotiate sentencing or make any bargains. He would settle for nothing less than glorifying God.
You’d think this silence worked against Him. But did it? Or does it prove Him to be even greater still?
Jesus' integrity has always been such. People have to make up their own minds. He will not force a decision upon anyone.
Three things may have added to His resolve:
Total submissiveness in trust of His Father’s will
Determination to complete His mission
Conviction that more was going on than was visibly perceived
As a vocal self-defender, I share in Pilate's great amazement. He knew there was no wrong deserving of this death penalty in the Man before Him.
But Jesus cared more about saving others than saving Himself. So He placed Himself in God's gracious hands to do the saving.
And the verdict? There was the human verdict, which sentenced Jesus to death by crucifixion. There was God's verdict three days later, however, which overruled the first. That vindication rocked the heavens, earth, and all of eternity by declaring His Son perfectly righteous.
Might every confession at every baptism also be a pronounced verdict?
What is your verdict?
God Almighty, not only did Your Son remain silent that fateful day, You did as well. How amazing! The silence of the Lamb of God speaks volumes about how You can be trusted. Jesus did not give Himself over to Pilate that day, He gave Himself over to You. Teach me that same unwavering obedience.