“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?” 61 But he remained silent and made no answer.” – Mark 14: 60-61
“Why do I get to go home instead of him?”
These were the distressing words of a middle-aged Airforce lieutenant I had the pleasure of knowing in Afghanistan. More so, he was a man I looked up to for his faith and cherished the moments we had together when I wasn’t “outside the wire.” His best friend had just become a casualty of war, and the faithful man I had come to know now relied on the words of a 19-year-old Private that hadn’t a clue. He lamented about going home and having to face his friend’s wife, kids, and community–he lived next door to them. He preferred death to this new life of immense loss. Who has the right words for this kind of thing? I live every day with the memory that I didn’t.
Isn’t it amazing how we can go throughout life knowing what to say most of the time, but there are only crickets when our words finally matter? Or worse, our emotions hijack our speech, and what comes out isn’t fruitful. For those who know me well, they could tell you I never have a loss for words. Yet, some of the darkest moments in my life have left me utterly speechless or catastrophically blabber mouthed and puffed up to no avail. Thank God that I have Christ to remind me words aren’t the only thing needed to satisfy the Father’s will!
In Mark, we see false testimonies, half-truths, and accusations against the Messiah. Claims that may have had any one of us shouting back in rage against the villainous lies they spoke. Jesus, knowing what was ahead of him, knew words would only hinder what had to come next. So, the Silent Savior knelt before the council and journeyed toward the cross with as few words as possible. His message is clear to me: It’s okay to let the voids of silence fill the room. Sometimes, it’s the only way to let God speak Love to those who crowed it. Silence is Love through presence.
My words aren’t everything. Teach me to be silent so that You can speak. Amen.