“And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer.” Mark 14:60,61
In the scene above, Jesus has been betrayed by Judas, and is now facing a council of men intent on destroying him. False testimony concerning Jesus’ words is brought forward, but even his accusers cannot agree on what he is guilty of. Have you ever been falsely accused? By nature, we immediately seek to correct the narrative, and so justify our actions and vindicate our names. Most of us, I dare say, do not even accept valid criticism well, let alone, false and unfounded accusations! When facts have been misrepresented, or we have been attacked unjustly, we are quick to speak on our own behalf.
And so the High Priest cannot believe that Jesus is not responding to the charges made against Him. And he presses Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus remained silent. Why did He not respond? Why did He not defend Himself? Because, ultimately, Jesus stood there in our place. He took the abuse and the judgment that we deserved. In light of our sin and rebellion, it was fitting that He should remain silent and give no answer. The charges were all true, but they belonged to us.
The gospel, which was so obscured for so long, was brought to glorious new light in the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago! And the central theme of the Reformation is that salvation is by grace alone! Stuart Townend encapsulated that wondrous truth in these words: Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer. But this I know with all my heart: His wounds have paid my ransom! Jesus didn’t defend Himself before the High Priest, because He had your salvation on His heart! He went to the cross willingly and took the punishment you deserve, and died the death you should have died! Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
This morning, as you partake of communion, remember His silence, remember His suffering, and remember His substitutionary death in your place. Believe that the body of our Lord Jesus Christ was broken, and his blood was shed for a complete remission of all our sins! Hallelujah! What a Friend!