Red Letter Year: 9/16

Luke 23.1-12

23 Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.”

So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!”

Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes — all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!”

“Oh, is he a Galilean?” Pilate asked. When they said that he was, Pilate sent him to Herod Antipas, because Galilee was under Herod’s jurisdiction, and Herod happened to be in Jerusalem at the time.

Silence by Ciudadano Poeta

Herod was delighted at the opportunity to see Jesus, because he had heard about him and had been hoping for a long time to see him perform a miracle. He asked Jesus question after question, but Jesus refused to answer. 10 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of religious law stood there shouting their accusations. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Finally, they put a royal robe on him and sent him back to Pilate. 12 (Herod and Pilate, who had been enemies before, became friends that day.)


Herod appears only in Luke’s telling of the trial of Jesus. The others mention Jesus’ silence with regard to Pilate, though he does speak the one sentence. Here it is with Herod that Jesus remains completely silent. In all accounts and before all questioners, Jesus has very little to say in his own defense. We spill a lot of words these days (easy to do because they are digital and mostly free) answering our accusers, trying to convince people who seem to willfully get things wrong, and engaging with those who use discussions as a Trojan horse from which to attack us. I am generally one to fight back and not give up, but I’m wondering if sometimes it isn’t better to just say, “No thanks,” to the large, hollow wooden horse, and not open our gates and let it in at all. Maybe sometimes it’s hard to tell honest dialogue from faith bullying, but I think most of the time we can tell. Jesus probably knew no amount of discussion was going to change anything, he was there to die on the cross and they were going to kill him, why drag it out with a lot of exposition? Maybe sometimes the best response to unholy attacks is holy silence. May the peace of Jesus fill you with holy silence today.

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale HousePublishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.