“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” (Isaiah 53:7, NIV).
Within just one verse of Scripture, the Prophet Isaiah changes his metaphor describing people as sheep “…gone astray…” (Isaiah 53:6, NIV), to Jesus as a sheep, “…the lamb (led) to the slaughter…” (Isaiah 53:7, NIV). Why the quick shift in metaphor? Perhaps, it is to demonstrate God’s love, grace, and provision. God, the Shepherd of souls, doesn’t leave his sheep to wander aimlessly in barren pasture, where they can settle for a life outside the abundance of his mercy. Rather, God loves his sheep so much that he would rather become one of them than to see them perish. This is what is meant by the incarnation of God in Jesus, that God took on the flesh of his sheep so that he might save his sheep.
And here’s how God saves – in the silent submission of Jesus. The same God who spoke the universe into existence, who breathed life into humanity, remained silent while he was beaten, berated, and broken upon a cross. He made no objection to the unjust verdict of a jury of his peers, nor to the cruel command to carry the wooden instrument of his death. No, he remained silent. Jesus, who could have exercised his divine right to call down judgement from above, chose his words with unprecedented compassion as he pleaded for the forgiveness of people.
Jesus remained silent because his mission and message were greater than his own personal well-being. We can be thankful for that.