It’s hard to stay silent, isn’t it? We get the urge to cough, shuffle in our seats or sniff a bit at least when a hush descends. It is said that silence speaks volumes. At least it does if we’re actively aware and listening to what it has to say to us, such as during contemplative prayer.
Witnessing dawn or sunset is like seeing earth holding her breath in wonder, as we hold ours in silent reverence and awe. The stillness and silence are markers of marvelling at creation’s beauty.
But could we remain silent when we’re attacked verbally and/or physically by others? Not likely. Because our stoicism and ability to withstand emotional or physical pain will only stretch so far.
In this era of asserting our rights and taking offence at the slightest suggestion of an infringement to our liberty to think and act as we want to, it’s a wondrous thing indeed to consider someone who is not hotly defending themselves but remaining silent under enormously unjust accusation and extreme physical torment.
Yet that’s exactly what Jesus did when arrested, spat on, verbally and physically assaulted by those who sought to demean, revile, deride and later crucify Him. He let His actions speak for themselves: His humility. His servanthood. His glorious surrender and willing obedience. His choice to die for us as the sacrificial Lamb of God.
“He answered nothing.” – Mark 15: 3 (KJV)
“He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he never said a word. He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he stood silent before the ones condemning him.” ~ Isaiah 53:7 Living Bible (TLB)
slayed and flayed by words and whip
you’re holy silent
you are innocent
fiery with rage and hunger
you want to assuage
they’re watching you die
skies darken and curtain tears
heaven weeps a while
earth moves, shakes and quakes
lightning strikes with bolts of love
rained from God above
into the awed, hushed now crowd
is it over now?
Now in the silent chasm and calm of death, we wait. It isn’t over yet. We have an empty tomb on the other side of sorrow, weeping and gloom. We have hope beyond Good Friday’s horrific ending.
Jesus was silent. He took the fall for us. He thought of us above all. He knew there would be wonderful repercussions from His actions. It was the whole purpose of Him coming to earth. His Mother, Mary, silently pondered all these things in her heart, right from the start.
Now He rests and so do we, on the other side of the Cross as we are, knowing the final outcome and the exuberant holy joy to come. Because we cannot be silent once our eyes and heart have been broken open by God’s amazing Love. We can only rejoice with holy awe and joy flooding our hearts!
PS: The Bible Society has a contemporary poetic video about Jesus on the road to Emmaus. You can download the video here. There’s also a booklet suitable for children age 4-7 that UK readers can purchase from them.