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Silent Witness

By John McCoury

Roan Mountain, Tenn.John Mccoury roan mountain


“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” Isaiah 53:7 Scripture preserves carefully the sinlessness of Jesus himself. He was without sin, but He bore the sins of others. That is why He did it in silence. He had no interest in defending himself, so He never spoke in His own defense.

It is a striking thing that in the gospel accounts of the trials of Jesus he never spoke up on his own behalf or tried to escape the penalty. This amazed both Pilate and Caiaphas. When our Lord stood before the High Priest, He was silent until the High Priest put Him on oath to tell them who He was. When He stood before Pilate, He was silent until to remain silent was to deny His very Kingship. Then He spoke briefly, acknowledging who He was.

When He was with the soldiers, they smote Him and spat on Him and put the crown of thorns on His head, yet He said not a word. Peter says, When they hurled insults at Him, He did not retaliate. (1 Peter 2:23). When he went before contemptuous, sneering Herod, He stood absolutely silent. He would not say one word to him. He was returned at last to Pilate because Herod could find nothing wrong with Him.

It is very apparent to anyone reading the gospel accounts that the trials that Jesus went through were a farce. The Jewish trial before the High Priest was illegal. It was held at night, which was contrary to the law. Pilate several times admitted that he could find no wrong in him, and yet he pronounced upon him the sentence of death. How true are these words in v. 8, “by oppression and judgment he was taken away.”

Remember that as the crowd was crying out, Crucify Him, crucify Him, they added these significant words, Let His blood be upon us and upon our children. Thereby they acknowledged who He was.  But when at last the deed was done and He cried with a loud voice, “It is finished” (John 19:30), and His friends came to take Him down from the cross. No enemy hands touched His body after His death, only those who loved Him.

As they removed His bloody body, the dear lips were silent, the wondrous voice was stilled, the light had gone from His eyes, and the great heartbeat was no more. But instead of throwing Him on a rubbish heap, as the authorities intended, they made His grave with the rich, just as Isaiah had predicted years before the event. Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, offered to put the body of Jesus in his new tomb that had never been used. Someone has put that rather remarkably, He who came from a virgin womb must be laid in a virgin tomb.

It is with awe and wonder, Lord, that I reflect upon all that you went through to secure the salvation of your people. Thank you, Lord.   Jesus was silent before all His accusers since He had no sin to confess. He bore unimaginable punishment for our sin. How can we do less than confess our sins and worship the One who paid for our forgiveness?


John McCoury is pastor of Evergreen Freewill Baptist Church in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, and the chaplain at Roan Highlands Nursing Center. You can read more good Christian news from John HERE.