Summary: Jesus was faced with numerous unfair and unjust accusations and trials... and yet He never responded to those. Why was He silent, and what can that mean to us?

OPEN: One day my dad was driving down the road a little over the speed limit. He was going about 65 in a 55 mph zone… and then he saw some lights flashing in his rearview mirror. Dad was resigned to the fact he’d have to pay a speeding ticket (after all, he was going 65) and when the policeman walked up to the car – dad sheepishly gave him his license/registration. And then the policeman told dad that he’d clocked him going 75 mph. Now dad knew he’d only been going 65, and the words were out of his mouth before he even thought about it. He told the policeman – YOU’RE A LIAR.

Now, I would personally not suggest telling a police officer something like that - but he was right - the policeman HAD lied. And dad was so angry that the policeman mumbled something and then gave dad a “warning” and walked away.

Now – here’s my point: It angered dad to be accused of something he hadn’t done, and his anger caused him to SPEAK. Faced with injustice… he refused to be SILENT.

But Isaiah 53:7 prophesied that Jesus would face injustice and yet He WOULD be silent! “He was oppressed, and afflicted… yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb being led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.”

Jesus was arrested about midnight, and all through the night He was subjected to at least 6 different trials - none of which was particularly fair or just. For example, according to Jewish law: It was illegal for someone to be arrested at night unless caught in the act of a crime; It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to conduct business during the night. (but they did).; It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to convene on a day before a festival such as the Passover (but they did that too). And it went on, and on, and on. There were like 20 different violations of Jewish law that took place that night. It wasn’t right… it wasn’t fair… and Jesus had reason to be angry. But Isaiah tells us He wouldn’t open His mouth. He refused to defend Himself.

Matthew 26:59-63a says “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony against Jesus so they could put Him to death. But they could not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. Finally, two came forward and stated, “This man said, ‘I can demolish God’s sanctuary and rebuild it in three days.’” The high priest then stood up and said to Him, ‘Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?’ BUT JESUS KEPT SILENT…” (HCSB)

Luke 23:8-9 tells us that “When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, BUT [JESUS] MADE NO ANSWER.”

And in Matthew 27:12-14 we read that “Pilate said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many things (the chief priests and the Elders) testify against you?’ But (JESUS) GAVE HIM NO ANSWER, NOT EVEN TO A SINGLE CHARGE, so that the governor was greatly amazed.”

Now, it’s true that Jesus would answer questions about WHO He was. The High Priest, for example, asked Jesus if he was the Son of God (Matthew 26:63) And Jesus replied “You have said so” (essentially telling the High Priest – “you’re right, that’s who I am”).

So, Jesus would spoke truthfully about WHO He was and what He’d come to do, BUT NOT ONCE did Jesus ever try to defend Himself against the unfair treatment or accusations He was subjected to.

And so, the question is: WHY NOT? Why wouldn’t Jesus speak up? I mean, yeah… I know, it was prophesied He would be silent, but there had to be a reason Jesus refused to defend Himself. And the answer is intriguing: Jesus refused to speak because He had to . He had to remain silent. His silence spoke of guilt.

Time magazine once told of how the courts used to view silence. Common Law held that an innocent man would loudly deny a serious charge, so the belief was that a suspect who remained silent in the face of an accusation had tacitly admitted to the crime. In other words they were guilty. And such silence could later be introduced at their trial as an indicator of guilt. Common law had a phrase for this: "Silence gives consent." (Time magazine – May 5th, 1967)

Now OUR legal system claims that an accused person has the presumption of innocence. But I have to admit that every time I hear of a defendant answering a question from a lawyer saying “I invoke my 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination” I think to myself – “this guy is as guilty as sin!”

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