'Day One' Blog

He Opened Not His Mouth – March 25, ’20

(Duccio di Buoninsegna: Christ Before Pilate Again)

(A slow read through the passages below is essential to grasp the whole recorded picture of what took place as Jesus was unjustly and brutally tried and convicted. There are links for your convenience.)


Meditation for the Soul ~

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth
Isaiah 53:7
What is it that these men testify against you?”
But He remained silent and made no answer.
Again the high priest asked Him,
“Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man
seated at the right hand of Power,
and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
And the high priest tore his garments and said,
“What further witnesses do we need?
Mark 14:60-63
“My kingdom is not of this world.
Then Pilate said to Him, “So you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king.
For this purpose I was born and for this purpose
I have come into the world
—to bear witness to the truth.
Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
After he had said this,
he went back outside to the Jews and told them,
“I find no guilt in him.
John 18:33-38
(See also: Matthew 26:57 – 27:26;
Mark 14:53 – 15:15;
Luke 22:54 – 23:25; John 18:12 – 19:16)


Reflection for the Mind ~

For every false accusation put to Jesus, not a word was spoken in reply. He did not refute or defend. He did not try to explain or correct. He remained silent. Annas, Pilate, Herod, and the swarm of Jewish leaders spewing their hate-speech, received no satisfaction whatsoever from Jesus. While their fury escalated, Jesus remained poised. And we cannot forget that all the while Jesus was being subjected to merciless taunting and physical abuse.

While Jesus remained silent when wrongly accused, He never missed an opportunity to speak regarding His identity. So when a simple question was put to Him about who He claimed to be, He answered succinctly and unhesitatingly. In whatever manner He chose to phrase His response, He made it known: He was the Son of God, the King of the Jews whose kingdom was not of this world.

No one was ultimately in charge in those night and morning hours but God. No power was in play that was not subject to the power of God. Pilate suggested otherwise, but Jesus quickly set him straight: “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above,” (John 19:11).

What I’m gleaning as I pay attention to how intentional Jesus was with His words, is that He was in no way a victim. There is no comparison whatsoever between a powerless victim and the Son of Man, a willing subject of torture and injustice. While my heart aches for the extent of His suffering, it matters that I remember He suffered of His own accord. These atrocities were embraced because of the unquenchable love of God for humankind. That takes me to my knees!


Response for the Heart ~

Lord, – You shone brightly out from among those around You as You were being so terribly mistreated and abused. There are no words for the sacrifice You made in those horrible hours. I am the beneficiary of Your sacrifice. I bow before You now, without an adequate way to thank You. But I love you and I worship You, and I praise You for who You are, and for the life I have because of what You did for me and for all of humanity. You are “the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world,” (1 John 2:2). Thank You, Suffering Savior! ~ Amen

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5 Comments

  • Korene Graham

    1

    Beautifully written, Annie! I am inspired to live a life like Jesus, full of love, with my eyes fixed on the Father’s will, unfazed by the chaos surrounding. Thank you for taking the time to write these amazing Lent devotions. They are so timely!

    • Anne Barbour

      2

      Thanks, Korene! Isn't the Lord kind to allow our remembrance of His death and resurrection to be used in part as guidance for these disorienting days! Much Love to you and Yours! - Anne

  • Lisa Smith

    3

    This is a very insightful post and very much appreciated. Thank you, Anne! These writings have made me think of the concept of felix culpa, or fortunate fall. I have never really been a fan of that doctrine--that we can be thankful for the Fall in the Garden of Eden b/c it allowed God to show his supreme love by sending Jesus to die for us--but these meditations have made me ponder that concept a bit differently. It is certainly an unfathomable level of love that would actually embrace an opportunity to suffer to show the extent of one's love to the beloved. I think also of Julian of Norwich's belief that Jesus said to her one time while she was in prayer, "If I could have suffered more for you, I would have." She was very moved by that word from the Lord to her, and I am not surprised. I wonder if others on this list have thoughts about Jesus' embrace of the opportunity to show suffering love provided by the Fall? Anne's posts, I think, have certainly pushed that concept to the forefront and have been very impactful in that regard.

    • Anne Barbour

      4

      I don't know about the legitimacy of felix culpa. I DO know that the acts of God on my behalf, which I think would include His suffering, cause me to feel deep gratitude. I would say that I am grateful/thankful not for the suffering itself, but for the love displayed uniquely through His suffering. And perhaps there are depths of His love that could not be experienced any other way. It seems certain that when humans suffer, we have an opportunity to experience the love of God on a plane we can't access except through suffering. Perhaps God, in the form of man, chose a similar path to expose the depths of the love of God to humanity. Musings ONLY!

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