John 19:8-10: Silence is golden.
“8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 ‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realise I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’ NIV
”…but Jesus gave him no answer” (9b)
Here’s a saying I heard a few years back: ”No answer was the stern reply.” There is a place for such silence in human interactions.
There is no doubt about who is in control here and it is not Pilate. Silence can be intimidating. Pilate was no doubt used to people flattering him or fearing him, and perhaps a mixture of both. But Jesus was not scared of him, and that was possibly unnerving for Pilate. He wasn’t used to this. He seems out of his depth; way out of his comfort zone; thrown to some extent by the unique and mysterious figure stood before him – a man who ”claimed to be the Son of God” (7). I think Pilate sensed something very different in Jesus.
There is ”…a time to keep silence, and a time to speak…” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). It takes wisdom to know the difference.
We are not obligated to reply to every question.
We certainly don’t have to answer immediately.
On the other side of this, when asking questions of other people we can be too quick to fill in the silences. Perhaps It makes us feel awkward or embarrassed. But learn to let the question hang in the air sometimes.
Silence can be powerful.
”Know this, my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger…” (James 1:19; see Ecclesiastes 5:2)