As I read Mark’s account of the trials of Jesus I pondered His silence. Today as I read Isaiah 53 it came back to me so I thought I’d share my ponderings hoping they aren’t ponderous.
The Eternal One laid on him, this silent sufferer,
the sins of us all.
7 And in the face of such oppression and suffering—silence.
Not a word of protest, not a finger raised to stop it.
Like a sheep to a shearing, like a lamb to be slaughtered,
he went—oh so quietly, oh so willingly.
I was thinking about why He was silent? It wasn’t all the time, He did make statements but He didn’t answer accusations or defend Himself. I could learn something from that. If I consider the moments I get angry, the moments I say mean things, the moments I regret most profoundly they are usually (if not always) the moments I am speaking.
I suspect Jesus felt. We are told He wept, that He was in anguish in the garden, that He mourned, I think He laughed and I know He loved. The difference between Him and me is that His feelings were under control. If I could keep quiet long enough to pray and ask for help I’d say a lot fewer things that were wrong, angry, snide or nasty. I’d give less selfish advice. I’d have time to let the Spirit show me what the Father is doing. But my feelings aren’t under control so anger, pride, shame, lust, greed, vanity, envy push their way up and I entertain them and speak what they are doing.
His example, as always, is perfect. He didn’t let situations press Him into speaking, into reacting, responding hastily. The fruit of the Spirit was perfect in Him patience, peace, self-control, love, joy manifest in what He said and what He didn’t say.
Maybe if He had spoken He’d have been carried on a wave of emotion and summoned angels to smite down His enemies. That wouldn’t have been wrong – He was falsely accused, He was innocent, he had demonstrated God was in Him, that He was the promised Saviour. But there’s a verse later in Isaiah
For in His servant’s hand, the Eternal’s deepest desire will come to pass and flourish.
The plan of the ages, the overarching purpose of God resting on these moments, on the frail will of a human. If I had been watching knowing the plan I think I’d have been holding my breath in case He failed, in case self-justification spilled out, in case righteous anger exploded. But the spotless Lamb of God was silent so He could fulfill His Father’s will, please His Father.
This puts self-control in a new light: not so I won’t displease Him but so that I will please Him.