When he [Jesus] was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, â€œDonâ€™t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?â€ But Jesus made no reply, not even to a sing charge â€“ the great amazement of the governor. Matthew 27:12-14 (NIV)
Markâ€™s gospel also says that Jesus did not respond to His accusers. Luke doesnâ€™t mention Jesus interacting with the Pharisees. John, on the other hand, has Jesus speaking to the high priest. Jesusâ€™ silence in Matthewâ€™s gospel is speaking to me today.
I have had some experience with being questioned and accused by church leadership. Yes, itâ€™s true. I suspect there may be some others who are reading this who have their own story. Jesus stands in silence. He knows the truth of the situation and He knows the truth of what is in the hearts of His accusers. I must rely on Godâ€™s Spirit to speak to me about what to do. In my situation, I was told to be silent. I did not want to be silent! I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to explain myself. AND I wanted to take a piece of my accusers! I admit it! Even today, at this minute, I still have to put myself beside Jesus and choose to be obedient and not speak!
There is so much for me to see and learn as I read and study Jesusâ€™ life. He has walked the paths that I walk. He has felt the ridicule and judgment of others. He shows me how to respond. Jesus is also the example of church leadership. How to lead. How to encourage. How to hold each other accountable the way Jesus would.
In our silence, may we stand firm and keep our focus on God. May we stand for our beliefs and not be swayed by neither the opinions nor the judgments of others. And when God releases us to speak, may our words be pleasing to God, remembering that we are His ambassadors.
Help me, O LORD my God; save me in accordance with your love.
Let them know that it is your hand, that you, O LORD, have done it.
They may curse, but you will bless; when they attack they will be put to shame,
but your servant will rejoice.
My accusers will be clothes with disgrace and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.
With my mouth I will greatly extol the LORD; in the great throng I will praise him.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.
Psalm 109:26-31 (NIV)