Holding Your Tongue
In the 52nd chapter of Isaiah, Isaiah is seeing into the spirit what the Messiah is like and what His ministry will be like - about 700 years before He ever came - and he begins to describe it to us. And in the 53rd chapter the 7th verse he tells us, "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth."
The character of the Messiah is evident in this verse; He didn't try to defend or justify Himself. He didn't try to let everybody know who He was. He did not go to extremes to defend Himself or make Himself look justified.
Do you remember when Caiaphas was questioning Jesus asking Him, "I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God." Jesus answered him and said, "You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."
Caiaphas tore his robe and said, "We don't need anymore witnesses. You heard Him blaspheme. He said he was the Son of God!" How many of you know that if it's true, then it is okay to say; but Caiaphas condemned Him to death and turned Him over to the Romans. That was Isaiah 53:7 being fulfilled, "...like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers..."
And in Matthew the 27th chapter we see the account of Pilot questioning Jesus. Verses 11-13 - "11 Now Jesus stood before the governor. And the governor asked Him, saying, 'Are You the King of the Jews?' Jesus said to him, 'It is as you say.' 12 And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He answered nothing. 13 Then Pilate said to Him, 'Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?' 14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly."
Do you understand some people don't want to be convinced and it doesn't matter what you say? Jesus knows this. He knows they are never going to be convinced, and he would be wasting His words trying to convince them. He knows they are going to crucify Him anyway so why even talk. And we know three days later it's not going to make any difference anyway. And if you have that kind of confidence in the Father, like Jesus had in the Father, then you are not worried about what other people think.
I Peter 2 says, "19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it, and you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God."
This verse essentially says, "Keep your mouth shut." Do you ever find that sometimes the hardest thing in the world is to not say anything? Sometimes the hardest obedience is to just say nothing. Continue with verse 21.
21 For you have been called for this purpose (to be quiet when you are being treated unjustly), since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22 Who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;"
It's easy to read these verses, but try to walk in them. Sometimes that's the best way to stay in God's favor. Just be quiet and let them criticize.
I Peter 3 says, "8 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic (Do you know you can be sympathetic towards a fool?), brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
It can be done. He just said you could do it. We were called for this purpose to inherit a blessing. But you don't get a blessing unless you do the first part...just let them criticize. If you retaliate, you become as wrong as them. Two wrongs never make a right. And if you desire life and to see good days, then you must do this. We must pursue peace and not retaliate. Just let a fool be a fool. How can they possibly hurt you? Did they hurt Jesus? What happened three days later? Are they hurting Him now?
If you want to see good days, then pursue peace and refrain from saying anything back.