“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20 KJV
Known as The Great Commission, and repeated again in Mark’s gospel account with slightly different verbiage, the message is still the same. As Christians, we are to tell others about Jesus. We are to spread the Gospel throughout the world and win souls for the Kingdom. For two thousand years, this has been the message and mission of the Christian church and in fact, when we, as believers fall short, it doesn’t take long for us to realize that our own faith and the acting out of this faith, is causing the number of new saints as well as discipleship of those already in our ranks, to suffer.
While it would be difficult to count the exact number of words that Jesus spoke during His ministry, even those recorded in the Bible, (the attempts to do so are varied as translating from Greek to English or any other language raises some question in itself), we do know that there were some times when, particularly after performing healing miracles, He would give instruction not to spread the word to people about what He had done. This was most likely to keep from drawing people in simply to see miracles and what would be perceived as some magic or side-show. He was there to teach and preach the gospel, not give a show. However, when He taught about salvation, love, forgiveness, grace, and mercy, never do we hear Jesus follow-up by telling people, “Now don’t tell anyone our little secret!”
In fact, Jesus taught in the temple itself as we read in John 8 where He was confronted by His adversaries regarding a woman caught in the act of committing adultery. The Bible does not tell us what lesson He was teaching but still, He was openly and actively speaking the Word of God. We also have record of Him reading from the Scripture publicly in Luke 4:17 and elsewhere.
It is interesting then, to note that in all of the times that Jesus praises God the Father, teaches His followers about forgiveness, grace, mercy, and tells them about the fulfillment of prophecy now and in the future, there is one time when the Son of God, who came to the world to save us all from our own sins, remained silent. The same Savior who would never show anger at His adversaries when they ridiculed Him but would express it physically by driving people out of God’s temple because they defiled His Father’s house, remained silent in front of His own accuser.
Luke gives a very interesting account of Jesus before not only Pilate but also Herod. Pilate, the Prefect of Judea, essentially the governor and Herod Antipas (Herod is a title, not a name), was the king of Judea would be the Roman rulers who would oversee the criminal “trial” of Jesus. Essentially, the Jewish High Priest Caiaphas had already declared Jesus guilty and worthy of death because He had been accused of claiming to be the Son of God, which was a violation of Jewish Law, punishable by death. However, under Roman law, the Jews could not carry out capital punishment on their own. Upon taking Jesus first to Pilate and then to Herod, it is interesting to see that neither of them found legal reason (under Roman law) to punish Him either but that is for a different discussion.
What is interesting is the very silent testimony Jesus gives. He does not defend His holy status. He does not perform miracles to prove what He can do. He does not condemn the Roman rulers for their pagan religious practices or their oppression of the Jewish people. No, He does none of this. In fact, Jesus has very few words. In Luke 23:3, Pilate, after being told by the accusers of Jesus, all of the things for which He is being charged, asks simply if He is the King of the Jews. Keep in mind that Judea is the designated place where the Jewish people live in the Roman Empire and, for all intents and purposes, Herod is considered “The King of the Jews”. In the eyes of civil government, he truly was. However, in a few short words, the only ones Luke records, Jesus answers, “Thou sayest it.” Jesus, without giving any testimony of His own, simply tells the governor of Judea that he has spoken the truth.
Taken then to Herod, who had hoped to meet Jesus and perhaps even see Him perform a miracle, Jesus is recorded as saying absolutely nothing at all. No words to defend Himself. No words of defiance. Nothing to state a case for why He came into this world.
As someone who has seen criminal trials and has been called as a witness on both sides, I can tell you that most people being accused of a crime will put up a very diligent and strong defense. Whether testifying on their own behalf or presenting evidence and witnesses to support their cases, defendants both guilty and innocent will go to great lengths to make pleas to the court.
Why then, didn’t Jesus? Why did He allow Pilate to eventually make a decision that would seal His fate at the hands of His accusers? Looking at it, He could have defended Himself.
Several years ago I wrote a piece called Born to Die, https://jimdakis.wordpress.com//?s=born+&search=Go. In it we uncovered and discussed how the sole purpose of Jesus being born was His eventual death at Calvary. Consider that for a moment. Had He interfered with the events of His arrest, trial, and subsequent crucifixion, Jesus would have prevented the one, holy sacrifice which would have cleansed all of our sins and unrighteousness forever! Very popular to many Christians is the claim made in I John 1:8-10, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” This righteousness is possible only with the shed blood of Jesus. The writer of Hebrews makes this very clear in Hebrews 9:22, “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Charles Spurgeon asks, regarding the silence of Jesus before Pilate and Herod, “Was this silence a type of the defencelessness of sin?” –C.H. Spurgeon Morning & Evening Daily Readings April 2 Morning Reading. What Spurgeon is saying here is that Jesus, in His silence, is accepting His place as the sacrificial lamb for our sins. In doing so, He is saying quite boldly before His accusers, that there is no defense, no excuse, for sin. Jesus, born with a purpose, to save sinners, came to this sinful, broken world, shared the gospel with those who would listen, and then, without complaint, offered His life as the ultimate sacrifice for all, knowing that our own attempts at redemption, no matter how noble, would never be enough. Had He not kept silent and accepted His destiny, Jesus of Nazareth would have been nothing more than the son of a carpenter who lived two thousand years ago. His death would have eventually come as does everyone’s but it would not have been the sacrificial death for which He came as was prophesied.
As we enter into the season where we celebrate the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of our Savior, do we ever truly realize the complete and utterly sacrifice that He made for us?
If you have questions about what Jesus did or how His promise of everlasting life is possible and you aren’t clear on something, please let us know. We would love to pray with your and talk to you about this. If you realize at this time that you have been living your life without Jesus and that now is the time to invite Him into your life, accepting the sacrifice He gladly made for you, take a moment and humbly do that now. It doesn’t take a formal setting, a church, a minister or grand ceremony. All it takes is an honest, believing, repentant heart. Again, if you are ready to do this, please write and share this with us so that we may rejoice with you.
Serving Him through Serving Others,
Rev. James M. Dakis, D.Min.