He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
– Isaiah 53:7 NASB
Today’s verse looks very much like yesterday’s. Both come from the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. In fact, most of that chapter reads like these two verses – and like an eyewitness account of Jesus’ crucifixion, which wouldn’t actually occur until some 700 years later. How could Isaiah write so clearly about something that wouldn’t take place for centuries? He was a prophet.
A prophet – a true prophet, that is – spoke for God and risked his life in doing so. People didn’t want to hear from God because they were afraid He might say something that would interfere with the pursuit of things they wanted. And because they did not want to hear from God, they did not want to hear from His spokesmen: the prophets.
Isaiah experienced a taste of the rejection Jesus would receive, and that’s part of what enabled him to understand, and then communicate, the prophecy God was sending through him. All the Old Testament prophets – as well as the New Testament apostles – knew they were taking their lives in their hands when they spoke on behalf of the Lord.
Anyone familiar with the lives of the prophets and apostles who wrote the texts we collectively call the Bible would not be surprised that the Son of God was crucified; it’s the way the world has always treated God’s truest representatives. Neither the Son of God nor all those sent before Him and after Him ever stopped speaking their message…until it was time for them to defend themselves. At that point, they were silent. They “did not open their mouths.”
We, too, have the opportunity to live our lives for Him instead of for ourselves. Therefore, if we have to defend anyone let us do as the prophets and the apostles did – that is, defend the Lord…and keep quiet when it’s time to defend ourselves.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, God, and Father: You gave Your life as an example for us. Your prophets and apostles followed this same selfless pattern, though no one walked it as purely and as innocently and as redemptively as You did. Let me be willing to suffer for doing what is right today – without complaint. Let me walk in Your footsteps…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.