If Christ fulfilled all the prophecies of Isaiah, including Isaiah 53:7, how could it be said that He “… , yet he opened not his mouth…,” when he responded to the High Priest and Pontius Pilot?
Jesus was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by a mob of over a hundred individuals consisting of temple staff and guards and others. That night he underwent six trials, three were religious trials, and three were secular trials. He was charged in these “ecclesiastical” trials with blasphemy, claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah. He was charged in his civil trials with treason against Rome in general, and Cesar in particular; claiming to be a King himself.
The trials before the Jewish religious authorities proved to be frivolous as none of the witnesses could agree concerning charges that were levied against Christ. These trials were illegal according to the Torah and other laws governing the Sanhedrin. Concerning the illegalities involved from the perspective of Jewish law, there were a least eight violations committed which would invalidate the proceedings.
1. Trials were never to be held during the Feast days.
2. The members of the Sanhedrin were to vote individually in order to convict or acquit.
3. Trials were to never be held at night, nor before dawn.
4. If the death penalty was passed, there was to be at least one night before the execution.
5. The accused was to be given counsel or representation.
6. The high priest was never allowed to tear his garment in this fashion.
7. That Sanhedrin had no power to condemn anyone to death.
The secular trials started with the Roman procurator, Pontius pilot. The charges levied against Christ by the high priest and Sanhedrin, were completely different than those charges presented to pilot.
Whereas he was charged with blasphemy in Ecclesiastical Trials, he was charged with inciting people to riot, forbidding people to pay taxes and prays in my claiming to be a King in place of Cesar.
Pilate found no reason for death in him (Luke 23:7), and had them sent to the vassal Judean King Herod.
Herod mocked Jesus but desired to avoid any political liability or repercussion from the masses, and therefore had them sent back to pilot (Luke 23:11-12).
Pilate attempted to sway the crowd by having Jesus scourged with 39 lashes of cat-of-nine-tails whip.
When this did not quell the mob, Pilate attempted to offer of Barabbas to be crucified in Jesus released, which the mob rejected, choosing Barabbas rather than Christ.
Finally in frustration, against his stated better judgment that Christ did not deserve death, Pilate ceremonially dipped his hands in water claiming to be innocent of the blood of Jesus, with the crowd chanting that the blood of Christ should be on their head.
- Trial #1: Jesus was taken to Annas. (Mark 14:53; John 18:13-24) Annas was the original (former) High Priest, however, the Romans in order to reinforce their own the power, placed his son-in-law, Caiaphas, the current High Priest. And while Caiaphas, was the high priest of record, the Sanhedrin still look to Annas as the true high priest.
- Trial #2: Jesus was taken before Caiaphas. (Matthew 26:57-68; John 18:24-28)
- Trial #3: Jesus reviewed before the Sanhedrin. (Luke 22:66-71)
- Trial #4: Jesus taken before Pilate. (Luke 23:1-6; John 18:29-38)
- Trial #5: Jesus taken before Herod. (Luke 23:8-11)
- Trial #6: Jesus taken back before Pilate. (Matt. 27:11-24; Mk. 15:1-14; Lk. 23:13-24; John. 18:39-19:16) Pilate offered either Barabbas or Jesus; Barabbas released, and Jesus condemned to death.
History & Authenticity
Starting with Isaiah 52:13 until Isaiah 53:12; these 15 versus layout prophecies concerning the last few hours of Christ’s life with such exactness, that many have claimed that it was written after the crucifixion.
However, due to landmarks secular events such as, the translation of the Hebrew scripture to Greek started in 285 B.C. and completed in 70 A.D., known as the Septuagint included these passages.
Also, the 1947 through 1949 excavations at Qumran, commonly referred to as the Dead Sea Scrolls also contained these rather amazing predictions.
The Question at Hand
In particular, Isaiah 53:7, states:
“He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Yet we know according to Mark 14:62, after Christ to been asked if he was the Christ the son of the blessed, finally in verse 62 Jesus stated, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Then it in Mark 15:2, Pontius Pilot ask him, “are you the King of the Jews,” which Jesus answered by saying, “it is as you say.”
How can we then reconcile Isaiah 53:7, which states that the Messiah would be silent before his accusers, and yet those gospel accounts which records Christ responding to them.
First off it must be noted that the figurative language of Isaiah 53, which referred to a literal situation, concerned the Messiah giving no defense of himself.
The understanding of the text is that when accused an innocent of the crime, he would not defend himself, even in spite of the fact that to do so might save his life.
Secondly, Jesus stated that he would fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15), and when Jesus responded to the high priest it was according to maintaining the requirements of the Torah, as it was a requirement that the accused would answer the questions of the high priest when the high priest would invoke the name of God.
If we read of this account in Matthew 26:63, it makes more sense concerning the responsibility that Jesus fulfilled by answering the oath of the High Priest (as seen in Numbers 5:19, 21).
The text states:
“but Jesus kept silent. In the high priest answered and said to him, I put you under oath by the living God: tell us if you are the Christ, the son of God.”
Also it is believed that when Jesus responded to the governor, Pontius Pilot, by stating: “it is as you say,” that he again was following this requirement of the Torah.
This in consideration of Peter’s proclamation that there are no powers that are not in force with out God’s control, and this proved to be a witness and of the Gentiles as well.
1 Peter 2:13-17, says:
“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”
Therefore, Christ answering as he did fulfilled the prophecies concerning him making no defense, yet also following the Torah, as well as the will of God.
It is God, and God alone who can always fulfill His Word, as well as His Will; even when these situations appear to be at odds against each other, never contradicting Himself in the effort.