Sometimes It is Best to be Quiet

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Leviticus 14; Matthew 26:51-75


62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” 63 But Jesus remained silent.

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied (Matthew 26:62-64a, Common English Bible).

Sitting in the hospital waiting room one-day several years ago, the doctor came out to talk with a family. It was obvious from the look on the doctor’s face said all anyone would really need to know. The surgery had gone on for hours. Now it was over but what I would think would be the most difficult part of the doctor’s job was still in front of him, giving the family the bad news. I could hear him say, “the brain tumor was larger than we thought. I’m afraid we couldn’t remove all of it and you should know there is nothing else we can do. I’m so sorry.” Before I knew it, the doctor was gone.

The doctor couldn’t have taken ten steps from the family when a woman went to the woman to whom the doctor had spoken. She gave her friend a hug and said, “I know just how you feel.” I cringed at her words. Then she continued, “Enjoy the time you have left with Bob. God needs him more than you do.”

The reason (and the family) I was at the hospital was momentarily forgotten. I wanted to go and grab the woman and drag her out of the waiting room and ask her, “Have you lost your mind? You have no idea how she feels. And, you have little idea as to what God needs and what God doesn’t. Please, try to sit there and be quiet. Your friend needs you to be there, not to speak.”

I sat there and didn’t say anything (for those who have known me longest have a pretty good idea how hard that is for me, in fact, they are probably surprised I could manage such a feat). I said nothing because I realized the hospital waiting room was not the place for neither theological debate or creating a scene. I sincerely doubt I could have changed the woman’s mind or get her to “do no harm” by saying nothing else.

Jesus realized as he stood before the Sanhedrin that he could say was going to make any difference. They were determined to find fault with him. When they couldn’t find a real reason they were willing to take a fictional account. And sure, the accusation that was finally made was something Jesus actually did say, he could tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days. Yes, Jesus said it, but those words were taken out of context.

When Jesus is talking about the destruction of the Temple and rebuilding it in three days he is alluding to his death and resurrection. Just as the religious leaders were destroying Temple worship, they would destroy him as well. But he would not stay destroyed. In three days he would rise again.

Jesus knew the Sanhedrin wouldn’t understand. Except when asked a direct question Jesus did the best thing he could do. He stood there saying nothing.

Sometimes we need to do the same. What we might say can cause more problems. What we might say might not be what someone needs to hear. What we can do is to present a ministry of presence. Those we love, more often than not, need to know we are there. We are there to help them find peace and comfort in situations where they have little control. We best offer that when we let God work through us and make a real effort to let God be the one who speaks, probably not by words but by actions.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved


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