St Cyprian points us towards the patience and obedience Christ shows during his ordeal; can we do as much when he searches us? How much better, then, to keep his holy precepts and to keep a watch on our hearts so that at his coming again he may judge us as being good and faithful servants and not profitless wretches.
St Gregory Nazianzen cites Isaiah and St John – a lamb, he is silent, and yet he is the Word, proclaimed by a voice crying in the wilderness. Weakened and wounded as he is for our transgression, he cures every disease and weakness. He is brought to the tree and nailed to it – yet by the tree of life he restores us.
Ephrem the Syrian sees Jesus as the defender of the truth before a man whose life is one of compromises. Others make their way by offering defences, but Jesus, the truth, is silent. His silence makes those who oppose him the louder. He fulfils the words of the Prophet is silent in the face of oppression. He is the Lamb offered for sacrifice for us – a sinless offering for the sinner; how unworthy but grateful we are for this uncovenanted mercy.
It is clear from Mark’s account that Pilate is uneasy and knows that Jesus’ enemies have conspired to bring him down – he cannot see what evil Jesus has done, Augustine reminds us. Yet the people prefer a robber to the Saviour. In the words of St Ephrem, the daughter of Zion repaid his love with evil. So it was that the giver of the cloak of righteousness is stripped of his earthly clothing and spat upon and mocked.