Friday, April 20, 2012

From WIld at Heart

Don’t Tell
I’ve always wondered why Jesus, having healed someone, would immediately tell them to keep quiet about it. After giving two blind men perfect vision, “Jesus warned them sternly, ‘See that no one knows about this’” (Matt. 9:30). Warned them sternly—now why is that? He does the same after healing a man of leprosy: “Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: ‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone’” (Mark 1:44). A strong warning? But . . . isn’t the point to get the word out? And wouldn’t miracles be just the thing? These guys are the poster children now, living proof of Jesus’ claims.

Maybe he’s using reverse psychology, knowing that the more you insist people don’t talk about what happened, the more they will. Is this merely his technique to get the press going? It certainly has that effect. The two blind men “went out and spread the news about him all over that region” (Matt. 9:31). The healed leper “went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news” (Luke 1:45).

But wait—Mark goes on to explain why Jesus did this: “‘See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.’ Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere” (Mark 1:44–45). It is a sad editorial footnote. Jesus can’t even get a moment’s rest now. The paparazzi are everywhere. He doesn’t mind a night of prayer on the mountain, but never to be able to get a bed and a hot meal? Jesus’ strong warnings reveal his strong desires, very human desires. “Please don’t tell anybody about this.” He doesn’t want to be forced to sleep in the woods.

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