When you read the story of the trial of Jesus before Pilate, which takes you all the way from that point in time to a cross on Calvary’s hill, you will be struck by the fact that Jesus is recorded as speaking only once. Let’s watch what goes on during this tragic period.
When Pilate heard the crowds identify Jesus as a Galilean, he breathed a sigh of relief and sent him to Herod the Tetrarch who was in charge of that area. Jesus refused to perform a miracle for the Roman tyrant, so he was returned to Pilate who declared him innocent. But to satisfy the crowd, Pilate said he would have him whipped and then released. That didn’t satisfy the crowd so Pilate gave them a choice between Jesus and a guilty rebel by the name of Barabbas. The crowd chose the latter and keep shouting, “Crucify him!” Jesus said nothing.
At that point Pilate had Jesus turned over to Roman troops who stripped him of his clothing and put a scarlet robe on him. Twisting thorny branches into a crown they jammed it down on his head. Then kneeling at his feet they mocked him as king, spit on him, and beat him severely with his staff. Jesus said nothing. When returned to Pilate with crown and scarlet robe the crowds shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Jesus said nothing.
Once again Pilate took Jesus inside and with all seriousness asked him where he came from. When Jesus refused to answer, Pilate reminded him that he had authority to set him free or to crucify him. It was at that point that the record says that Jesus spoke. He told Pilate that his authority as a Roman governor to make the decision had been given to him by God. And that is the only recorded utterance of Jesus during this long sequence of actions. Unable to withstand the demands of the mob, Jesus was flogged and released to the soldiers for crucifixion.
The dignity of our Lord in this appalling series of cruel and debasing events is remarkable beyond belief. Falsely accused, he said nothing. Unjustly beaten, he said nothing. Publically humiliated, he said nothing. What does that say about how we are to live as Christ lived? The answer is clear: When unfairly accused, remain silent. If you didn’t do what they said you did, any attempt to exonerate yourself is useless. Truth is enhanced by the quiet refusal to explain why we didn’t do what we didn’t do