Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
(Matthew 27:11-14 ESV)
Today’s passage is Jesus’ second appearance before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. He had previously appeared before Pilate who found Him innocent of all charges [Luke 23:4] and sent Him to Herod. But Herod sent Him back to Pilate [Luke 23:6-9, 11]. Pilate’s question, “Are you the king of the Jews?” was not an accusation. Pilate was probably more curious than anything because before Him stood a man who was bruised and bloodied from having been beaten by the Jews. Jesus hardly looked like a king. But Jesus confirmed to Pilate that He in-fact was.
But when the chief priests and elders accused Him He gave no answer, not even to a single charge. This greatly amazed the governor who had presided over many trials and probably never saw a man not speak in his own defense. Almost everyone would have something to say under such conditions, knowing they were facing a brutally painful and slow death if convicted. At least they would plead for their life. But Jesus said nothing.
He certainly could have talked His way out of the charges; Pilate was willing to let Jesus go free. But if He had He would not have gone to the cross and taken on God’s wrath for our sin. Jesus was silent and allowed things to progress as they did because of His desire to see God’s will done [Matthew 26:42]. He also did it because of His deep love for us.
Jesus stood before the religious and secular authorities facing inane charges so that we would not have to stand before God facing legitimate charges. Jesus was innocent but allowed Himself to be convicted before sinful men so that we, who are guilty, would not have to be convicted before a pure and holy God.
Jesus stood in judgment in our place. He stood trial so that we don’t have to. And like Jesus before Pilate, anyone who does stand trial before God will also have nothing to say.
Everyone of us is guilty before God. We’ve all sinned [Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23 et. al]. There is no denying that. Those people who accept God’s offer of complete forgiveness in this life will not have to stand before God’s judgment. Those who don’t, will [Revelation 20:11-15]. But those people will not be able to offer up any defense for themselves.
Those people who die unforgiven because they denied God exists, or denied the true God of the Bible will be speechless as they come face-to-face with Jesus. They will not be able to offer up any defense. They will know they are guilty. There will be nothing to say.
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