He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth (Isaiah 53:7, 9, NIV)
Isaiah’s suffering servant (Jesus) knew many different aspects of suffering: physical abuse, emotional pain, and the spiritual torment of paying for the transgressions of others. He did so in silence. Have you ever wondered why Jesus did not speak up in his own defense?
John tells us of one incident in which Jesus’ words were misinterpreted as “hate speech.” Jesus didn’t try to explain his way out: “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man (John 2:24-25, NIV).”
Jesus knew that hearts intent on crucifying him weren’t really interested in the truth, and the protests of his innocence would fall on deaf ears. The shearer doesn’t stop for the bleating of the sheep, after all.
So what are we 21st century Christians to do when our motives are questioned…when our stance on moral issues is described as “hate speech.” That’s our topic of discussion this Sunday in our sermon series “Perspective”
But here’s a thought ‘til then. In one of my favorite verses, Jesus is asked about John the Baptist. Jesus noted that the pop culture of the time said John was a crazy man and that Jesus was a glutton. Jesus’ response: “But wisdom is proved right by all her children (Luke 7:35, NIV),” or as The Message says: “Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”
When we live are lived for others, when our lives center on sacrifice instead of self, when our actions exude the love of Jesus, we won’t need words for defense. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth (1 John 3:18, NIV).”