The Power Of Silence

“Then the leading priests kept accusing him of many crimes, and Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer them? What about all these charges they are bringing against you?” But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.” Mark 15:3-‬5 NLT

We are living in an information age in which we are overwhelmed by information as well as confused by misinformation and disinformation. We have access to any information we want or need at our fingertips through the Internet, but we are at a total loss to sift out the truth. We also choose only the information that confirms what we want to believe.

Jesus came to show us  the Way, the Truth and the Life, but our sinful nature leads us to exchange the truth about God for a lie. Consequently, we live disconnected and meaningless lives. We worship and serve the things God created instead of the Creator himself. (Romans 1:25)  Our human nature does not want God’s truth to reveal the dark and painful secrets that lies deep in our hearts – our crowd mentality leads us to choose Barabbas and crucify Christ. (Mark 14:6-16)

The Truth will set us free but it will provoke anger and hatred in those whose hearts are hardened like the high priest who tore his clothing in horror and condemned Jesus of blasphemy. (Mark 14:63-64) When the High Priest confronted him with the question, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?” Jesus broke his silence to speak the truth:

“ I Am. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven. ” Mark 14:61-‬62 NLT

Likewise, Stephen was stoned to death by the Jewish leaders when, filled with the Spirit he saw the glory of God and Jesus standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand, he declared:

“Look, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing in the place of honor at God’s right hand!” (Acts 7:55-56)

When Pontius Pilate interrogated him, Jesus kept silence. He only responded when Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” by replying, “You have said it.” Pilate was surprised by the silence of Jesus. (Mark 15:1-5) Jesus kept silence so that God’s purpose as recorded in Isaiah 53:7 would be fulfilled in him:

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth.”

Jesus came to be our Shepherd of Love to lead us into the kingdom of God. The bad news is that when we truly seek to put God first in our home, work, school, or leisure, we can be sure that we will face some form of opposition sooner or later. The good news is that when Jesus is our Shepherd of Love, we do not have to chase after happiness but God’s goodness and unfailing love will pursue us all the days of our life! (Psalms 23:6)

We are called to be God’s sheep – to rest in the green meadows beside peaceful streams through the discipline of silence. It is entering into the experience of powerlessness that Jesus embodied in his trial. The spirit of poverty is the first key of the kingdom of heaven – blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

It is only by letting go of our lust for power that we can experience the power of powerlessness as the power of love flow through us. Through silence we can be present to those in pain and touch their wounds with “a gentle and tender hand” instead of trying to cure or control. Henri Nouwen gives us the challenging picture of a caring and comforting friend:

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not-knowing, not-curing, not-healing, and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

It is extremely difficult to share the pain of others instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures – to be like Simon of Cyrene who was forced to carry the cross of Jesus. But those who are hurting and in pain need the healing space that is created in silence. We need this healing space to cry out to God and trusting that He will fulfill His purpose for us and in us. (Psalms 57:2)

Thomas Keating noted that it is the thought that we are separated from God that separates us from God – we fail to believe that we are always with God and that God is part of every reality:

“The present moment, every object we see, our inmost nature are all rooted in God. But we hesitate to believe this until our personal experience gives us the confidence to believe in it. . . . God constantly speaks to us through each other as well as from within. The interior experience of God’s presence activates our capacity to perceive the divine in everything else – in people, in events, in nature.”

This is the power of silence – to open our hearts and minds to the Holy Spirit. It is the expression of our intention to seek God’s presence – it is transcending our egos and going beyond our thoughts to see the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. It is to direct our thoughts towards the things of heaven and not the things of earth. (Colossians 3:2)

Let us seek the sound of silence so that we will not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way we live. (Ephesians 4:30) Through silence, let us meditate on God’s written word so that it can become His Living Word in us:

We’re fools when we do not know

How silence can help us grow.

To hear God’s Word that He might teach us

Feel His Love that He might fill us           

That our lives like the bright shining stars

Will light up the world in silence


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