The Silence of the Lord

Mark 15:1-15

Today we see how Jesus Christ continues to show His authority by His silence when interrogated by Pilate. He does not need to defend Himself, but instead turns things around, so that it is really His accusers who are on trial. Saint Ephrem the Syrian writes:

The Lord became the defender of truth, and came in silence before Pilate on behalf of truth which had been oppressed. Others gain victory through making defenses, but our Lord gained victory through His silence, because the recompense of His death through divine silence was the victory of true teaching. He spoke in order to teach, but kept silent in the tribunal.

This silence of the Lord is in stark contrast to the noise of the crowd, whose emotions were easily aroused, leading them to call for the death of an innocent man. We see here how fickle and how dangerous human speech can be, and Saint James warns us about the destructive power of the tongue (3:1-10). Our thoughts, emotions, and speech can easily deceive us, which is why we need to learn from the silence of Jesus Christ. For it is only by entering into His silence, by remaining close to Him and getting beyond our own thoughts and ideas, that we can discover and remain in the truth.

Indeed, it is better to keep quiet and be, than to make fluent professions and not be. No doubt it is a fine thing to instruct others, but only if the speaker practices what he preaches. One such Teacher there is: He who spake the word, and it was done; and what He achieved even by his silences was well worthy of the Father. A man who has truly mastered the utterances of Jesus will also be able to apprehend His silence, and thus reach full spiritual maturity, so that his own words have the force of actions and his silences the significance of speech. Nothing is hidden from the Lord; even our most secret thoughts are ever present to Him. Whatever we do, then, let it be done as though He Himself were dwelling within us, we being as it were His temples and He within us as their God. For in fact, that is literally the case; and in proportion as we rightly love Him, so it will become clear to our eyes.

Saint Ignatius of Antioch

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The Holy Gospel according to Saint Mark 15:1-15:
At that time, the chief priests, with the elders, and scribes and the whole council held a consultation; and they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate wondered. Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he was wont to do for them. And he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man whom you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas; and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.