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)
Pilate pressed our Lord to speak on His own behalf, and we read—often with astonishment—that Jesus made no reply. John records that Pilate was afraid; no doubt the Roman governor was accustomed to men pleading for their lives when the slow, agonizing death of crucifixion loomed ahead them. Yet Jesus was silent.
It certainly wasn’t because our Lord could think of nothing to say; elsewhere in Scripture we read, “No one ever spoke the way this man spoke” (John 7:46) and that “The crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority,” (Matthew 7:28-29). Jesus was the living Word of God; He certainly was not struggling to find the right words!
One lesson you and I can draw from our Lord’s example is that in the life of every disciple of Christ, there is a time to be silent and a time to speak (Ecclesiastes 3:7). The key is to possess the discernment to know which time is which!
So much can be said about these two words—“no reply”—that can bring great encouragement into the life of the Christian. Jesus made no reply when words might have brought a blessing to Himself . . . but never did He withhold His words when He could bless others.
Jesus said to the fishermen He found by the shore, “Come,” and they became fishers of men.
Jesus said to the man up in a tree, “Come down immediately,” and Zacchaeus rose up into the ministry of the Gospel alongside His Master.
Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Will you give me a drink?” and she was given living water, becoming the first evangelist in her town of Samaria. Thanks to her joyful message of hope, many became believers.
Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” and she left His presence forgiven and faithful to Her Lord.
And Jesus said to the disciple who had denied Him three times, “Feed my sheep,” and Peter was restored to a life of ministry and service to the King of kings.
These are just a few of the many examples of the words of Jesus blessing others. He gave no reply to Pilate, refusing to provide a defense against the false accusations leveled against Him, but He never missed the opportunity to defend and bless others.
So . . . where has Jesus spoken into your life that brought you great blessing? Remember, Jesus made no reply because He chose to take our place and die on a cross. Jesus made no reply so that He could drink the full cup of God’s wrath on our behalf. Jesus made no reply because His silence testified to Him being the true Lamb of God, fulfilling the prophecy that he would be silent “like a sheep that before its shearers is silent” (Isaiah 53:7).
But then, at the very moment when the principalities and powers of this dark world expected Him to remain silent, as He hung on the cross, beaten and bleeding and gasping out His last breaths, Jesus the Christ opened His mouth and gave the triumphant victory cry that caused the earth to shake and the rocks to split open: “It is finished!” Your debt of sin has been freely and fully paid; your enmity with God is at an end; you need only appropriate your eternal salvation by placing your trust in Him who died for your sake and was raised to life that you might have life in Him.
And regarding your relationship with Him, He has not stopped speaking words of life to you, nor will He all the way into glory. If by chance God has shone His light into your heart in these recent moments so that you have clearly heard these words of life for the first time, I pray you will hear and accept this gracious invitation from the precious Lamb of God:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!