“He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.” Luke 23:9
Just when you thought 2020 could not get any more uncertain, in walks the election projections hand in hand with everything else that has come our way. It emanates more division, doubt, fear, anger, and everything else in its posse. Election, virus, lockdowns, masks, school and more. All adding up to be a foe who continues to scream in our face, threaten our future and demand a response. Just look on social media and you will see it. Call a relative and you might hear it. Turn on the news... wait, don’t do that. I would like to say that it is all coming to end soon, but what I discern from the Lord is that we better not put the current crisis with the election or the ongoing virus on a Gregorian Calendar. Just because 2020 is running out of days, does not mean it is running out of steam. I think we are just getting started.
If you are getting caught up in the drama, do yourself a favor and breathe. Take a time out and read this devotion slowly and ask God to be your anchor. You are not the first person to experience the feeling that life isn’t fair. When 2020 seems to be piling on and we wonder what the future may hold, now is the time to be silently still, strong and pray. We have an incredible example to follow. In fact, there is one who has experienced the weight of the world on his shoulders and overcame it all. In surrendering to the mission of the cross in Luke 22 and 23, he was cheated, maligned, and loathed. The Father of Lies (the Devil) unleashed a torment of shame and blame against him, yet he met every false accusation with silence. What? Silence? Does he not know how to stand up for himself? Come one man, show the evidence of your innocence! Stick up for yourself! This is what we expect others and many times ourselves to do when faced with similar situations. But not this man. His emotions I am sure were stirred though they were always in check as he felt every painful blow against his body and psyche. He was publicly humiliated and yet He did not open his mouth to defend himself. Why? Because he stood upon truth in the presence of lies and schemes. When you are in the same room with fraud, deceit, slander and persecution, silence is a position of victory when you know truth is on your side. Jesus shows us that truth always gets the final word!
I am using Luke 22 and 23 to highlight 10 things we can learn from Jesus’ silent stand on truth in middle of deception and lies. You will find a few more things by studying other gospels. I encourage you to take time to look at this story and learn. For this devotion we will focus on our 10 highlights found in the gospel of Luke. Keep in mind, that in going through these seasons, silence is golden, but there are also times when you are to speak. This devotion concentrates on the silence since it is usually our mouths that get us in trouble with trouble is stirred.
In his deepest time of need, his friends do not stand with him in prayer. They are asleep. He is finds himself carrying alone the burden that would cause him to sweat drops of blood. Here he asks for another way, but Jesus surrenders to the will of His heavenly father. He shows us that there are times we will be alone, we will want to find another way, but surrendering to God and His will for our lives will always result in victory even if it is a painful path.
Jesus is betrayed by Judas, abandoned by his closest followers and Peter who was president of Jesus’ fan club denies to even know him. Even when those closest to you decide to leave your side when you need them the most, remember Jesus knows how that feels and that is why his Word tells us he will never leave nor forsake us. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
He is arrested under false accusations, mocked, and beaten. Plans have been plotted in secret. There is a wave of hate crashing against him. Words have now turned into whips that are drawing blood. Yet He still has not opened his mouth. Life is not always fair and the blows you endure can make you wonder where God is. When you experience this, know you are in good company. Jesus is able to sympathize with your weakness. (Hebrews 4:15)
Wait! We hear Jesus speak. Surely, He is defending himself. No, he simply answers a question of identity. “Are you the Christ?” they ask. Jesus has no problem confessing who He is. In the middle of our trials, the enemy will always come after your identity. This is when you must know who you are and whose you are. Tell the enemy who you belong to and whose power you stand in.
He is taken to Pilate and asked if he is King of the Jews. Once again, Jesus says yes. He confesses and confirms his identity. To stand in truth you have to know who you are in Christ.
He is not found guilty of any wrongdoing, but again the crowd stirs up false accusations. Jesus is silent.
He is sent to Herod and questioned. Teachers and chief priests vehemently and falsely accuse him. Jesus stays silent. He is mocked, ridiculed, and sent back to Pilate.
Pilate finds no crime and wants to release Jesus. But the crowds of public opinion cry out to release a known criminal who led a rebellion instead of Jesus who was sinless. If there was any time you might want to see Jesus speak up it would be now. “Come on people! Really? You want to release a criminal? “ But instead, Jesus remains silent. In today’s world, this is when you need give your thumbs a rest on social media. Put the phone down and quit trying to defend yourself with others. It may be getting bad, but that does not mean God is not still on the throne. "
He is sentenced to death and led to the cross. It is here where many choose to get bitter. You say things like, “This was never supposed to happen!” Here life is not fair, and it makes sure you know. But here is where you cling to who Jesus is. He told those who were mourning the death of his friend Lazarus, “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25)
Just in the narrative in Luke 22-23, the only time Jesus speaks on the way to and while on the cross, He speaks prophetically to Israel concerning their coming judgment because of their rejection of the Messiah. His heart breaks for them. While on the cross he asks for His father to forgive those who are driving the nails into his flesh and bones for they are blinded. He encourages the thief next to him that soon they will be together in paradise and then speaks to the Father. “...into your hands I commit my spirit.” He stays mission focused!
Throughout the story, Jesus is not demanding justice for himself, nor is he campaigning to be heard. He is not crying out to defend himself or his integrity. He is not in today’s standards, blowing up social media trying to defend His position. He speaks only of who He is and during the battle continues to minister to others. His silence is not weakness, it is strength. How can He stand so strong and how can we follow this example? He stood on truth and we can too. When we know we have done all that we can do to stand, we stand according to Ephesians 6:13-14. We stand knowing that truth will prevail and even though we do not receive the justice we think we deserve and our sentence may look like death wins, remember how this story ends... on the third day, God had the last word.