Jesus Silent Before His Accusers…
The chief priests and Sanhedrin held a trial against Jesus, but it was not exactly fair:
The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none. Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and within three days I will build another not made with hands.'” Even so their testimony did not agree.
The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, “Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?” But he was silent and answered nothing. -Mark 14:55-61, NAB
Witness after witness came against Jesus, but their testimonies did not match. In order to convict Jesus, the chief priests needed witnesses that could testify to a single claim against Christ, but they could not get their stories straight. It seemed as if the trial was going nowhere fast.
Jesus remained silent before His false accusers. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7, which states:
Though he was harshly treated, he submitted and opened not his mouth; Like a lamb led to the slaughter or a sheep before the shearers, he was silent and opened not his mouth. -Isaiah 53:7, NAB
The world today continues to bring false accusations against Christ, the Church, and His people. We are criticized, mocked, and even put to trial based on false accusations. Christ chose to remain silent in front of His accusers, as it was prophesied, but should we remain silent, as well?
This is a question that must be answered on a case-by-case basis. At times, when the accusations are so wildly false, as they were against Jesus, they probably do not deserve our response. Accusations of the Church being a “cult” come to mind. Wild accusations, such as these, do not even deserve a response.
A lot of it depends on someone’s reason for making a claim. Do they have an honest question about the faith, or are they simply attacking it? When someone is asking an honest question, they deserve an honest answer; it’s our call as Christians to answer them. However, when they are simply attacking you, you do not need to give them the satisfaction of an answer.
There was power in Jesus’ silence, and there can be power in yours, as well. Do not get dragged into meaningless debates with someone who is not willing to listen. Words can pierce the heart like a sword, but silence can be an even more powerful weapon.