“Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.” Mark 15:5, NIV
Just for a quick inventory – what do you hear at this moment? Listen.
Where I am, it’s the hum of my fridge with the occasional ice dropping in place, birds blended cacophony outside, a buzz on my phone after I started a Lauren Daigle song.
Silence is a challenge in the 24/7 audible, visual, sensory loaded script of our world. Recently a Lent reading brought a silent pause. Mark’s story in chapter 14 tells us of Jesus’ arrest and the entire Jewish Council presenting him to Pilate. Jesus responds once to Pilate’s questions. And so Pilate says *“Aren’t you going to answer anything? That’s quite a list of accusations.” Still, he said nothing. Pilate was impressed, really impressed.
In the midst of deep trouble, betrayal by both disciples and religious leadership, Jesus is secure in his purpose and silent in his response. And this surprises and impresses Pilate, who really wants to let Jesus go free. But you know, public opinion wins out.
Pondering the silence of Jesus, has me thinking. Has there ever been even one occasion when my silence impressed someone, leaving curiosity, a hope, a longing for understanding?
Silence is more likely to be my response when I miss (should I say betray) the opportunity to speak of Jesus, give a word or take action in His truth or His comfort, or His love. Silence often needs to be the choice to make when I’d rather argue, give my opinion, or justify my action.
We have a glimpse of our Silent Savior in this part of God’s Story. We know before The Word became flesh, creation was spoken and the redemption plan was in place. Jesus came using words, often full of mystery, to show us God’s Kingdom. The silence of God in that mock trial, the abuse and crucifixion didn’t mean weakness or failure. God was still working. It impressed Pilate, a dying thief, a Roman Centurion. And centuries of others!
Maybe in this season of your life, or someone you know, God is being silent. Hold on to hope. Today, may you be mysteriously impressed by the silence of Jesus. And may you be Jesus’ impression in your noisy world.
*Copyright 1994 by Eugene Peterson, The Message