“…but Jesus gave him no answer.” John 19:9 (NIV)
Jesus was always able to give a verbal response to those who questioned Him. However, there were times when He did not answer when questioned (Matthew 26:63; 27:14; Mark 14:60-61; 15:5; Luke 23:9). The reactions to His silence varied from mere annoyance to sheer terror.
The situation in which Jesus found Himself in our verse for today was His trial before the Roman governor Pilate. The Jews had already tried Jesus and found Him guilty and worthy of death. They had to get permission from Pilate to carry the sentence out. Jews usually stoned the condemned but they wanted crucifixion as it was much slower and a most painful way to die.
Pilate had already pronounced Jesus not guilty five times (John 18:38;Luke 23:14-15; John 19:4, 6; Luke 23:25). Pilate’s clear responsibility in the matter was to release the Man whom he had said five times “not guilty” and offer Him the protection of the powerful Roman occupational forces if necessary. However, this was not done. The whole event was a kangaroo court.
There are times to seek for justice in the case of being falsely accused. Then there are times when we should not dignify the situation with a response. It is up to the person falsely accused to determine when to speak and when to remain silent.
Jesus, as already, stated bore the injustices of the Jewish and Roman trial with silence until forced to speak. This fulfilled a prophecy in Isaiah 53:7 where it said that the servant of the Lord would be silent when suffering for the Lord’s people.
Anyone who has been falsely accused will tell you how difficult it is to remain silent before the accusers. Many so accused will state that they simply could not be quiet but rather spoke up with passion about the injustice of their situation. It is bad enough when our real failures are publicized, but when we receive judgment against us that is patently false it cuts to the core of our being.
Perhaps I have a reader today who has been falsely accused and you smart under the burden of a soiled reputation. You wish the wrong could be made right but your efforts would only appear to compound your guilt. If you have been lied against, remember there will come a day when truth shall prevail and the wrong shown for what it is.
God will bring all of us before Him in judgment some day in the future. Your accusers will be exposed for what they truly are. God will someday vindicate you. Rest assured that will happen. Leave it with the righteous Judge of all of us. He says in Deuteronomy 32:35 “It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.” (NIV).
God will repay all who do injustice. The only place for escape from His vengeance is to come to Jesus and seek forgiveness. Only in Him is there refuge from the guilt of sin.