Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Did Jesus Open His Mouth During His Trial?

Did Jesus Open His Mouth During His Trial?
"But he would not open his mouth. He was brought like a sheep to the slaughter, Like a ewe that is silent before its shearers, And he would not open his mouth." - Isaiah 53:7
Jesus, as we know, was brought before Herod, then to Pilate. And while he typically refused to answer questions, he answered a few. To the skeptic this is enough to find fault with the scriptures. To them either Jesus is not the Messiah or that the Bible contradicts itself. However let us examine what questions he answered and why. By doing so we can see whether or not Jesus was silent. (Before continuing I recommend reading the account of Jesus,' trial.)

In one occasion Jesus was asked a question by Pilate, "Are you the King of the Jews?" How he answered could have saved him. For example he could have said: "No." If he did he would not be seditious against Rome and quite possibility would have been saved. He answered, "You yourself say it." By this idiom he meant "Yes." While he broke the extreme interpretation of silence there we see that in fact he was silent by refusing to answer other questions. This surprised governor - after all who would not come to their own defense?
"But while he was being accused by the chief priests and the elders, he made no answer. Then Pilate said to him: "Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?" But he did not answer him, no, not a word, so that the governor was very surprised." - Matthew 27:12-14
The conclusion we can reach is that he answered questions about who he was - however instead of defending himself they "convicted" him all the more - and when asked to defend himself, or when presented with an opportunity to do so, he remained silent. He therefore met the requirements of Isaiah 53:7, and the early Christians (e.g., Philip or Peter) found no contradiction in the accounts because Jesus was silent and Isaiah didn't mean that he wouldn't make a noise (even if he didn't talk the skeptic might say, "Jesus opened his mouth to breath! He isn't the Messiah!"), but rather that he would be silent in his own defense.

The Conclusion
Because Isaiah's words do not indicate that God's Servant would be totally silent, and that Jesus was silent in his own defense and only said a few things when ordered to or put under oath, things which concerned his identity only, we can say that he was in fact silent.

If skeptics are still not satisfied with this explanation there is no excuse. Instead of being reasonable and understanding the intent of Isaiah (i.e., the Messiah would not defend himself and would silent except when needed) they set the bar so high that Jesus could never live up to it. However we can be confident that Jesus did keep silent when on trial.