The Bible records 3 occasions in which Jesus was silent. The first occurred in Matt. 27:12-14 "And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?" But he answered him not one word…" Why was Jesus quiet? Instead of defending himself, He was determined to do His Father’s will by going to the cross. In similar fashion, it is our Father's will that we remain silent when we are tempted to judge, lie, gossip, curse complain or speak evil of others. (See Matt. 7:1; Col. 3:9; Eph. 4:29; Jam. 4:11)
Another instance is recorded in Lk. 23:8-9. “Herod…had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but he answered him nothing." Jesus’ refusal to speak was based on Herod's motivation. Herod was more interested in being amused than in hearing the truth. Thus Jesus heeded Prov. 26:4, "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like him". This is a valuable lesson for us. How many times have we become involved in a foolish argument, later regretting our words? Wisdom dictates that we keep quiet as opposed to being drawn into senseless disputes.
The third instance occurred prior to Jesus' trial. Luke 22:63-64 records, "Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, "Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?" There is no record that Jesus replied. What makes this remarkable is that He could have easily cited the names of His oppressors. Why did He keep quiet? To fulfill prophecy – “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So he opened not his mouth.” (Isa. 53:7) This episode teaches us another invaluable lesson. Someone has observed, "Behind every fight is a harsh word." Every day, thousands of quarrels are triggered by a rash or unkind word. Even if we are unjustly criticized, it is better to keep quiet and allow God to handle things (see 1 Pet. 2:22-23) than to retaliate and start a “war”.
Jesus spoke as no other man (John 7:46), but He also knew when to keep quiet. So should we.
"He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction." (Prov. 13:3)
Jesus, always Jesus!