March 17, 2014

When Silence Speaks

Mark 15:1-5

Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
—Mark 15:5


When someone challenges us, we usually try to defend our-selves with a lot of defensive talk. We attempt to establish our innocence with elaborate excuses. That’s why Pilate expected Jesus to deny the false accusations made by the chief priests. But Jesus said nothing—and Pilate was amazed.

The word “amazed” is used most often in the gospels at the close of a miracle story to describe the reaction of people who saw what Jesus had done. Jesus’ silence in this story also needs to be seen as a miracle. And Pilate responded with awe.

Jesus’ silence fulfilled a prophecy in Isaiah 53:7: “He was op-pressed and afflicted, yet … as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

Sometimes silence is cowardly. There are times when we need to voice our convictions.

But often silence is golden. Silence is always better than truth spoken without love. Silence calls attention to the value of the words we do say. When Jesus finally spoke, his words were intensely powerful.

If silence is golden, most of us are paupers. Often we talk a lot without saying much. The discipline of silence, however, guides us to reflect on what we do say. We become better listeners, both to God and to those around us. We choose our words carefully and build people up rather than tearing them down. Amazing!

Father, we need your wisdom to discern when to speak and when to be silent. May our words always honor you. Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

Start your day with quick daily devotions.

See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!