The Power of Silence
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE
There is a silence which is often more eloquent than speech, means more than any words, and speaks ten times more powerfully to the heart. Such, for example, is the silence when the heart is too full for utterance, and the organs of speech are choked by the whelming tide of emotion. The sight of a great man so shaken, and quivering with feeling, that the tongue can give no voice to what the heart feels, is of all human rhetoric the most potent. Such, also, is the silence of a wise man challenged to speak by those whom he feels unworthy of his words. The man who can stand and listen to the language of stolid ignorance, venomous bigotry, and personal insult, addressed to him in an offensive spirit, and offers no reply, exerts a far greater power upon the minds of his assailants, than he could by words however forceful. His silence reflects a moral majesty, before which the heart of his assailants will scarcely fail to cower. Such was the silence which Christ now maintained in this hall. (Homilist.)
The Value of Christ’s Oath Before Pilate
Jesus could have mounted a magnificent defense here, calling forth all the various witnesses to His deity, power and character. The people He taught, the people He healed, the dead risen, the blind who see, even the demons themselves testified to His deity. But Jesus opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth (Isa_53:7).
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
When asked under formal oath to “incriminate” Himself, Jesus essentially said, “You now stand in judgment of Me, but I will be the ultimate judge.” These were words that would have given any wise judge pause, but had no affect on His accusers at all.
Here we see that Jesus was on trial - He seemed to lose, but He really won. His conduct at His trial showed His innocence, and was all part of the plan of redemption - which we must receive as God’s gift.
In a real sense, it isn’t Jesus that is on trial - it is more true to say that the religious leaders were on trial - and they seemed to win, but they really lost. We all are on trial before Jesus, and will be held to account for our deeds, and what we do with Him.
Jesus could have called witness after witness, and pointed to irrefutable evidence that He was indeed the Christ, the Son of God. But He knows that these hardened hearts care nothing for the facts of this case, so He simply testifies to the truth: It is as you said.
You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven: Jesus did add this one word of warning. He warned them that though they sit in judgment of Him now, He will one day sit in judgment of them - and with a far more binding judgment.
Insights And Takeaway's
When our Lord was upon earth, the measure of the fulness of His revelation to men was conditioned by their disposition towards Himself, and by their general moral character. This explains His silence to Caiaphas, to Herod, and to Pilate. In like manner the Scriptures are silent to some and full of heavenly wisdom for others. That which a man will get out of the Bible depends on what he brings to the Bible. The eye can see only what it brings with it the power of seeing.
Prejudice, whatever be its source, gets nothing out of the Scriptures. If you bring a full pitcher to a spring you can get nothing from that spring.
Habitual indulgence in sin will also prevent us from getting any answer to our inquiries from Scripture. Hardened sinners find nothing good in the Bible, because their moral sense is so hardened that they do not know good when they see it. The Herods of today get no answer from Christ.
The influence of scepticism makes the Scriptures silent. Pilate did not believe there was any truth, and if there was, it could not be known. He belonged to the school of the elder Pliny, who said, "There is no certainty, except that nothing is certain." I do not wonder that philosophers who have adopted this philosophy can find nothing in the Bible. They must first believe that truth is, and then Christ will tell them what it is.
The Wisdom In His Silence
In putting ourselves in this account, and observing the events unfolding, we learn that there may often be prudence, wisdom, dignity, and power in silence.
The Savior in the midst of His enemies was silent, the most effective and suitable reply which He could have made to their accusations. These accusations were false and frivolous. His life and doctrine themselves, were a sufficient reply. No verbal defense could have been so powerful.
No verbal defense would have availed him anything with those who were determined to procure His condemnation. It was not for Him to join in a war of words; His last hours should be tranquil. How solemnly His silence rebukes the vociferation of the priests and populace.
There are seasons and occasions when silence for ourselves may be better than speech, sharper than argument, and more effective than verbal reply.
When our characters are attacked. If we are living a life which can defend us, let us be silent, and let our life speak.
Silence is often the best reproof of profane conversation.
His silence was full of suffering, suffering that was vicarious; he was taking the punishment we deserved, and bearing it in silence. In silence he bore the suffering, becoming the sacrifice for our sins, and making atonement for us.
His silence was ominous. It foreshadowed ills. His silence said, “What more can I do unto My vineyard?” It is an appalling sign when Christ ceases to plead with us. He had nothing to say to his slayers.
Christ was inspired, and thus full of instruction. His silence, spoke of his dignity, and even before Pilot; who saw this, and prompted his probing question to Jesus "and what is truth?" His hard heart blinded him to the TRUTH standing before him.
Joh 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
Joh 18:38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
Christ’s silence was beautiful. It was regal, exemplary, self-imposed-the silence of a King, performing his duty.
He could, by a word, have made the world tremble; judge the accuser's before him, and all of them fall dead before Him. Why was He silent? He came not to be His own advocate, but ours.
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The Lord Will Pour Out His Spirit
And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:
And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.
And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
But this is that which was spoken by the
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: