The Remarkable Silence of Jesus
Text: Matthew 26 : 57- 75
The Sanhedrin Council had not gone well! They could not charge Jesus with anything that deserved the death penalty. The cunning high priest Caiaphas came up with an idea. Why not get Jesus to speak. Most people feared the Sanhedrin Council. They were often intimidated by them. Perhaps Jesus would say something wrong that they could misconstrue and utilize that against Him.
“And the high priest arose and said to Him,
‘Do you answer nothing? What is it these men testify
against You?’ But Jesus kept silent.”
The high priest must have been amazed! Jesus did not take the bait. The fact that even false witnesses could not be used effectively against Him spoke volumes! There wasn’t a need to say a word at all! His silence irked the high priest and all the council members! The silence of Jesus must be broken! The defendant must at least speak a word in His own defence!
INVOKING THE NAME OF GOD
Of course, no one could force Jesus as the defendant to speak, if He chose not to do so. People tended to speak up out of sheer self-defence. Others speak up because of fear. Jesus’ choice of silence baffled the Sanhedrin Council. There appeared to be one other way. The high priest must take this approach. He would invoke the Holy Name of God to force Jesus to speak!
“And the high priest answered and said to Him,
‘I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us
if You are the Christ, the Son of God!'”
1. “I put You under oath by the living God”
All Jews knew the significance of invoking the sacred Name of God! To invoke the Name of God was to compel an answer!
2. “If You are the Christ, the Son of God”
Not to reply would be tantamount to denying the truth! To reply was also dangerous, for the whole council was waiting just an opportunity like this to pounce on Him.
THE CHOICE TO BREAK SILENCE
His Father’s sacred Name had been invoked! His Messiahship was called to question. To remain silent at this juncture would be self-defeating! Jesus had no qualms as to the outcome of this so-called trial. He knew that the Council would condemn Him anyway. He refused to dignify with an answer the false accusations hurled at Him. However, this was not an accusation hurled at Him. He knew that His answer would see Him condemned. If ever courage and strength were needed, the moment was now!
“Jesus said to him, ‘It is as you said.
Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see
the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power,
and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
1. “It is as you said…”
Jesus affirmed that He was indeed the Christ, the Son of God! The words of the high priest had hit the nail on the head! Did that confirmation jar the high priest and the other members of the Great Sanhedrin?
2. “The Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power…”
Jesus employed Daniel, the prophet’s words even as he spoke. He was THE eschatological Son of Man. He knew that this statement of His would be the last testimony He would give to the Council! However, He also knew that He must testify (at this juncture) of His Messiahship!
3. “And coming on the clouds of heaven”
Whether or not the high priest or anybody else believed in Him, was not the point of this statement. It was a truth that must be declared. The Messianic Son of Man was destined to sit on the right hand of God. He would one day return to bring about the end of the age. He would return with great glory and power!
ARRIVING AT THE VERDICT
This was the opportunity the high priest was waiting for. Jesus would be convicted because of His own words!
“Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying,
‘He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have
of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy!
What do you think?’ They answered and said, ‘He is deserving
1. “The high priest tore his clothes”
This was a well-known symbolic gesture. It was to represent righteous anger at hearing the name of God blasphemed. Jesus was adjudged guilty of having blasphemed God when He said what He did!
2. “He is deserving of death”
The conclusion was swift indeed. They decided that there was no need to examine Jesus further. He was simply pronounced “deserving of death”.