MARK 15:1-7: And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.”
The scene in today’s scripture is intense, riveting, and imagine being in the crowd listening to what was unfolding. There are the quiet whispers of the chief priests, elders, scribes, and whole counsel talking among themselves as to what to do with Jesus. Then the scene shifts to Pilate. He is one-on-one with Jesus. He quizzes the Lord and He answers – And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” This enrages the chief priests as they let out a volley of accusations and charges against Jesus; all false. Now in a room full of loud voices and interruptions, Pilate offers Jesus a chance to defend Himself – And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” And how the Lord responds is the lesson of today – “But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.” Let’s take two things from the Master’s words.
First, we do not always need to respond in heated and tough conversations. Yes, sometimes silence is best, yet this is not easy to do when emotions are high. One of the high marks of spiritual maturity is a guarded tongue. King Solomon gives wise counsel to the one tempted to have a “motor mouth” and always “needs to talk or say something” – When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent (Proverbs 10:19). And Jesus was not only mistreated and innocent, but never sought a verbal self-defense. Learn from Him. Be known as a wise and prudent Christian by the quality of our speech to include those times of no speech. Restraint = spiritual maturity.
A second thing to take away from Jesus’ no response to Pilate is the impact we have on people by our controlled speech to include no speech. The scripture reads “So that Pilate was amazed.” What amazed him? Jesus’ restraint. Jesus’ refusal to get into a vain and fruitless dialogue with those who had no control of their speech. Remember this . . . people will always assess our Christianity by the quality of our speech or no speech. Sadly, if we are uncontrolled and impulsive, the assessment will be negative and impact our testimony. Conversely, if we respond like Jesus, people will be, like Pilate, amazed over the grace-filled, Christ-like quality of our speech or no speech. We will enhance our testimony, not damage it.
As Solomon would tell in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everything under the sun (Ecclesiastes 3:1). We might add “there is a time to remain silent too.” Sometimes silence is not only golden but best.
PRAYER: “Father, teach me to have a controlled tongue knowing what, when and how to speak.”
QUOTE: “Sometimes a gracious response in a conversation or dialogue is a limited one or no response.”