The Silence of Jesus

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin.-Hebrews 4:15

And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But Jesus kept silent.-Matthew 26:62-63

Jesus kept silent. His silence was perhaps a judgment or perhaps it was an acceptance of the way things are. The trial was unjust and there was nothing Jesus would say or do to change the outcome. Perhaps, silence was the only appropriate response.

Just outside our apartment building there is a small group of homeless adults. The people have grown accustomed to their presence here and consider them to be part of the neighborhood. They don’t beg for money. They do odd jobs to help them buy food and clothes. One of them is called Natal which means “Christmas”. He is a 40 year old man and has been homeless for so long that he has given up hope of ever living in a house. Natal and his friends have their own bed cushions and they even have a small cabinet with pots and pans which they bought or had given to them. Every weekend, they cook in the streets and when we walk by they always invite us to have a meal with them. Last week, the police came by and took everything that belonged to Natal and his friends, including their pots and pans and their cushions and blankets. We met Natal after the fact and of course, he was upset and depressed. He looked resigned as well. This was his life. The only thing he said was that they stole his personal belongings purchased with his own money. It was his property. However, it seems like the homeless have no rights to personal property. There was nothing Natal could do, except to remain silent.

I have witnessed this scene several times. A grave injustice is committed against the homeless, whether adults or children, and all they could do is lower their heads in submission and remain silent. Anything they say would only aggravate the situation. They can only remain silent.

Jesus allowed Himself to be in the shoes of those whose rights are ignored. In fact, Jesus did not imagine that He had any rights when questioned by the authorities. Jesus understands how Natal felt. Or rather, Natal might be able to understand what the Lord went through better than us. However, it does not end just with the silence. The silence is a recognition that the justice in this world is an imperfect justice. However, the One who is epitome of Justice understands how Natal feels and He has experienced what Natal is experiencing. The Silence of Jesus is a not a sign of defeat. His silence exposed the so-called justice of this world. It reveals its limitations. Natal got back what he lost the next day. The police did not return his things. The people in the neighborhood gave Natal their cushions and pots and pans. We saw Natal smiling. He said God is my advocate. He is right. Jesus knows what Natal felt and only Jesus can bring true justice for the Natals in this world.

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