He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment, he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people, he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. — Isaiah 53:7-9 (NIV)
How specific is this prophecy about Jesus? Silent before his accusers…“When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.” Matthew 27:12-14 It certainly amazed Pilate, and it was pretty amazing for Jesus to fulfill this prophecy…
…but this prophecy might be harder to control: Yet who of his generation protested? How could Jesus make sure none of his own followers or anyone else protested? Humanly speaking he couldn’t. And yet this was still fulfilled completely: “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” — Matthew 27:22-23,25
But even more amazing, not even his best friends protested: After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.” Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” — Matthew 26:73-74
He was assigned a “grave with the wicked” — hung on a criminal’s cross even though he had “done no violence” — Pilate declared, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” (Luke 23:4) fulfilling the prophecy. Yet even though shamefully murdered, he was buried “with the rich in his death!” (see Luke 23:50-53) Fulfilled completely.
No one defended Jesus. Jesus Himself remained silent. Punished unjustly for our transgressions, so that He might freely give undeserved justice to us who not even open our mouths in His defense. No greater love could be displayed for us than Jesus’ silent gift of mercy and grace.
Contemplate today the precisely fulfilled prophecies in this passage and Jesus’ silent gift to you and me. Perhaps we need to open our mouths to give this gift of grace and hope to others.