What is your response when someone accuses you of things you did not do? Is there an immediate need to return the accusation with your defense? If Jesus was the victim of misunderstanding and was unjustly accused and condemned to die, why didn’t He seek to defend Himself?
The prophecies of the Messiah describes a Savior who will rest silent before His accusers. He is coming for the express purpose of offering His life in exchange for the guilty. Isaiah wrote seven hundred years before Matthew penned his words in the New Testament, yet the prophet records the precise manner of response that Jesus gave to those who accused Him.
Though the Messiah will be falsely accused, Isaiah predicted that He will remain silent and not seek to defend Himself.
He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.1
The New Testament Fulfillment:
Matthews records: And while Jesus was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.2
A Time For Silence:
Which one of us, when falsely accused by anyone, would not seek to defend ourselves before our accusers?
Even those who know that they are guilty will always speak up to vindicate themselves. To be accused of the crimes that were attached to Jesus should have invoked a Holy and Righteous response from Him. He had, at His disposal, legions of angels who could have come to His rescue, and take Him from the ravenous wolves who falsely and unjustly tried to convict Him of crimes to which He was innocent. Yet, Jesus spoke not a word of defense for Himself.
We must remember that Jesus was representing all of us at the place of judgment for our sins. Jesus volunteered to stand in our place and bear the full wrath of God’s judgment that we deserved. Because all of us are guilty before a Holy God, we can offer no excuse for the wrongs we have done. We are aware, in our conscience, when we commit wrongful acts. We also know that there is no credible excuse for the fact that we willingly choose to sin every day.
In the year when King Uzziah of Judah died, Isaiah was given a glimpse of heaven and the Lord sitting upon His throne of Glory. These are the thoughts of Isaiah as he spoke not a word in the presence of God, contemplating what would happen to him:
Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the Lord of Heavens Armies.”3
If any of us were to stand before God, we would be silent, with no strength to lift our eyes or our voices. In every case where the scriptures describe a man who was given the opportunity to see the Lord, they were all without strength and unable to utter a word.4
In the book of Revelation, John said this of Jesus when he saw Him: And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.5
It was for this reason that Jesus stood silent before His accusers, not saying a word. We are all guilty; we can offer no excuse for our sins. Jesus is our representative before the Father. He knows that we are guilty, and He says nothing to excuse our sins; only that He is offering His life to pay for our wrongs, and His death for us, makes us perfect with no trace of sin.
Though Jesus had committed no sin, He bore all of our sins and was made sin for us, so that He could carry them to the cross and die to pay the debt we owed.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.6
Those who witnessed Jesus’ silence before His accusers marveled that He did not seek to defend Himself. Their amazement likely originated from the fact that they knew the charges against Jesus were false. Most of those who observed the drama of Jesus’ arrest and conviction were conscious of the fact that He was an innocent man. They must have believed that when Jesus had the opportunity to defend Himself, He would have risen to do so. When Jesus said nothing, it literally “blew the minds” of those who were anticipating His defense.
But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.7
Pontius Pilate had seen many men stand before him. Most were guilty, and all had vigorously sought to plead their innocence. This was likely the very first time in his life, that the Roman procurator had seen a man refuse to defend himself. It is clear that by this time, Pilate had doubts about the guilt of Jesus; and by the insistence of his wife, he may have determined to set Jesus free at the first opportunity.8
To comprehend the reality of Jesus’ innocence while He was killed for crimes we have all committed, our hearts should break out in confession and thanksgiving for His benevolent grace.
Jesus was accused, yet He did not speak up to defend Himself. He did not seek to prevent His death nor persuade those who accused Him that He had not done what was alleged. He gave no answer, because He earnestly desired that He might pay the penalty we owed for our sins. Jesus did this, so that none of us would ever have to stand before God and feel His full wrath leveled against the sins we have committed.
It is amazing when we consider that Isaiah wrote, that the Messiah would be silent before His accusers almost seven hundred years before Jesus was arrested and sentenced to death.
Isaiah Chapter 53 contains 38 of the most detailed and descriptive verses of scripture, for precisely what the Messiah will accomplish when He arrives, more than any other single location for predictive verses of scripture found in the Bible. You can find the complete commentary for the following 38 prophecies of Isaiah, in my books: “Prophecies of the Messiah,” and “The Messianic Prophecy Bible.”
The writers of the New Testament realized after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, that the prophecies of the Messiah, written by Isaiah, were for Jesus: Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory.9
This fulfilled what God said through the prophet Isaiah:10
When we read the entire 38 prophecies of the Messiah’s death, as described by the prophet Isaiah, we realize that it is not an accident that these things were written. Isaiah was moved and inspired by the Holy Spirit to give us credible, solid evidence that would enable anyone to correctly identify who the Messiah was.
Jesus fulfilled not just a few of these distinct prophecies of the Messiah, but He perfectly fulfilled all the Prophecies of the Messiah.
In the face of intense trials, false accusations, and the threat of death, Jesus stood silent and did not seek to defend Himself. His silence accomplished our salvation. This is a valuable lesson for all those who seek to be more like Jesus; when falsely accused; when maligned and injured by people; when hurt and suffering from the actions and words of people, we can gain so much more by silence, than by fighting, defending, and seeking vengeance.
1 Isaiah 53:7b
2 Matthew 27:12-14
3 Isaiah 6:5, NLT
4 Revelation 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.
5 Revelation 1:17 (NKJV)
6 2 Corinthians 5:21
7 Mark 15:5
8 Matthew 27:19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.”
9 John 12:41 (NLT) 41
10 Matthew 4:14 (NLT)
Categories: A Servant, Apologetics, Be like Him, Bible, Forgiving People, Hearing Jesus' Voice, Living For Jesus, Overcoming trials, Pleasing the Lord, Robert Clifton Robinson, The Historical Jesus, To Love Jesus