The Dog That Didn’t Bark - A Reflection on Silence
'The dog that didn't bark' is an expression from a Sherlock Holmes mystery. It was an important clue that led to identifying the criminal. It seems that the killer entered and left the estate grounds one night but without the guard dog barking an alarm at the intruder's presence as expected. From this non—event Holmes reasoned that the dog must have known the killer and that clue led to solving the case.
Silence is powerful, often more powerful than anything that can be said.
When Christ stands bound before Pilate, when he has a chance to state his identity, he still is strangely silent. “Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate asks, seeking an answer. “You have said it,” is Christ’s reply. Not, “Yes!” Not, “I am, and I will prove it to you!” Just a simple repetition of Pilate’s own words.
Then comes a follow-up question: “What is truth?”
To this, Christ says nothing at all.
The answer to Pilate’s question, this answer he so desperately seeks in his confusion and emptiness, is standing right in front of him. The one who was the way, the truth, and the life. Christ did not give an answer, because he himself was the answer.
Even today with the cannon of scripture and the indwelling of the Person of the Holy Spirit we miss it!
We feel compelled to speak in our arrogance and pride seeking an advantage, the last word when there is no last word.
How then can a suffering, humiliated Jew from the first century offer any hope to our world today? How can we trust God to help the poor/ helpless and persecuted today when he couldn’t do that for his own Son? By our standards Jesus seemed cursed (Matt. 27:41–44) and rejected by God and men, but this rejection is the key to our hope and life’s ultimate reality. Christ’s willingness to suffer for a crime he didn’t commit is the key to God’s response.
Christ went to the cross, the place of suffering and humiliation. No one could look upon him. No one could bear to watch the kind of suffering he went through. Darkness covered the sky and the ground trembled.
Christ experienced of our sin on the cross to overcome all the evil that this world could produce. He overcame death, hell, and the devil himself. The perfect Lamb of God suffered for the guilty, therefore the law’s demands could no longer be spoken before God. The devil can no longer speak of our guilt. Death has lost its voice and sting. Violence finally has an answer in the silence of Christ.
For you in your life today, in your interactions with people either in person or on social media is often made better by your silence. Silence is powerful. Be sober minded, be deliberate, be prayerful and be silent!!