Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing. Luke 23:8-9
Jesus had a lot of practice holding in the truth. He was under a God-imposed silence for thirty years. Jesus knew He was the Messiah. He knew He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Yet, when most of us would have caved to just blurt out the truth, He didn’t.
Can you imagine Him as a boy, then as a teenager, and finally as a grown man in His local synagogue? While the temple in Jerusalem could hold hundreds of thousands of people, rural synagogues were made up of a handful of local villagers. It was intimate. Everyone knew everyone. And with the Jewish people languishing under the unfair rule of the Roman Empire, Jesus would have been raised on years of lament. Friends and family would have cried out in prayer for the coming of their Savior, for the Messiah to be born. And yet all the while, Jesus knew it was He. If He’d spoken, it might have brought hope to their despair. Didn’t that have value? I wonder if He asked this question of His heavenly Father.
When God released His tongue to speak of His true identity, it brought more controversy than comfort. His first disclosure happened at His local synagogue among friends and family. He declared that He was the fulfillment of Isaiah 61. As special a child as He had been, as unexplainable as a few of His miracles had appeared, His news was received as heresy. Long time friends and brothers drove him out to the edge of a cliff in order to trap Him and then execute Him. We’ll never know if Jesus had been waiting for that day to finally declare His mission and identity. Perhaps as a child, He thought He would be celebrated. All of that changed as He saw even family members join the company of accusers.
Many have the spiritual gift of discernment and of prophecy. They are the first ones to whom God discloses the truth of certain matters. It is lonely and the burden is great. The first thing one wants to do when seeing truth is to declare it. It’s hard to sit on it. And yet truth, when delivered outside of God’s timetable, has disastrous consequences. The hardest thing for a prophet is to see the truth and then have their mouth shut by the Spirit of God. The prophet is instructed to pray instead of talk. Where is the comfort for the one who sees what others do not see? It is in this ~ Jesus knows. His self-imposed silence spanned three decades. Though there were hundreds of scenarios when He was tempted to think it wise to speak up, His Father squelched it and silenced Him.
Oh Jesus, there was grace for you as a young Messiah and there is grace for us today who see but are cautioned to watch and pray behind closed mouths. Amen