Would you vote for the leader of a kingdom characterized by power, freedom and unity?
Most of us would, but Jesus, the King, regularly told followers and crowds to keep quiet about what they had experienced or observed of his kingdom. Not exactly a winning campaign strategy.
Why wouldn’t Jesus want as many people as possible to know about his kingdom? Did he really think that people who had been blind, lame, deaf or mute would keep quiet about the one who had healed them? (They didn’t.)
It’s hard for us to imagine such a thing, for in our day the success of a message and its messenger is measured by how many people know about it, follow it and/or vote for it.
For us it’s about getting the word out; for Jesus I think it was about getting the Word right.
For us it’s about gaining a following; for Jesus it was about accomplishing his redemptive mission.
Jesus demonstrated his power with miracles and offered freedom and unity by his expansive interactions with people on the margins of Jewish society. Clamoring crowds and increasingly hostile opposition both rose up around him, and he knew that it would all culminate in his death on a cross.
There is more to the kingdom of God than miraculous power. The kingdom would come at great cost to Jesus and to his followers.
One day after Peter had correctly identified Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, Jesus explained to his disciples that he would suffer, face rejection, be killed and would rise again. This was most definitely NOT what Jesus’ followers had in mind. Jewish expectations of the Messiah were for a conquering hero, certainly not a sacrificial lamb.
Perhaps Jesus commanded silence on the subject of his miracles because he wanted to prevent misunderstanding of his identity, mission and message until the complete picture was better understood. He offers a kingdom of power, freedom and unity, it’s true, but it requires a trade-off.
To experience the power, unity and freedom of the kingdom of God one must serve instead of expecting to be served, live in humility rather than self-promotion, sacrifice personal gratification for the sake of God and others, and surrender earthly power instead of seeking it. Jesus wants followers who fully understand and accept the cost.
For many people, it’s a deal-breaker.
“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” Jesus in Mark 8:34-36
Would you still vote for Jesus?
Judy, you have answered your question about why the Lord would command those He healed to keep silent about it: “For us it’s about gaining a following; for Jesus it was about accomplishing his redemptive mission.”
He had been born to die for us, and in Jerusalem, to become sin for us, taking the curse upon Himselcf. To get there – to do this, He had to be rejected, not honored as King for His powerful deeds and words.
It is still astonishing that Jesus did that for us, isn’t it?
Yes! And He was completely focused on this essential. Beautiful Man, our God!
Love this! Such great points! They couldn’t keep quiet. The disobedience to run and tell, when He clearly told them not to, always bothered me. But, in their defense, when you’ve been “touched” by the God of the universe, you can’t help but get excited! Somebody’s got to know:)
So true – who can keep quiet after being touched by God? Thanks for stopping by, Rivera. Blessings!
So few actually ‘Get it’ and the diluted message is poisonous to the ‘true’ message. The counterfeit has a lot to answer for. Great post and thanks for dropping by my blog. Appreciated greatly. Blessings to you!
So well put: “The diluted message is poisonous to the ‘true’ message.” Thanks for your thoughts, and I look forward to continued visits to your blog:)
Interesting points. At times, Jesus told people not to say anything. Another time, He told the men healed of leprosy to show themselves to a priest. A man delivered of 2,000 demons was told to tell people what great things God had done for him. The twelve were sent out to preach and heal, but no mention was made about keeping a hush-hush on their actions.
“…Would you still vote for Jesus?…”
Hi Larry, I’d never thought about the fact that Jesus didn’t tell his disciples to keep quiet when he sent them out. I have read that the reason Jesus gave the man delivered of a legion of demons the green light to spread the word is because it was in a Gentile area. They would not have had the Messianic expectations of the Jews. But in the end, Jesus did what he did for his reasons. Thanks for your thoughts, Larry.
Hi Caddo, this is just my own noodling over this issue, with some help from Bible commentaries, so I make no claim to having “the” answer. But I am glad that you find it helpful! Blessings back to you, Caddo!
Yes! and thanks, Judy, for answering the question–it seems so clear and simple now, but honestly, this is the first time I’ve heard an answer besides, “because Jesus said so”. And it’s not that I meant to argue with His authority–I wasn’t/didn’t–but surely even He understood that things were more than a little confusing back then… God bless you BIG–love, sis Caddo