The Messianic secret

Mark in his gospel records a number of times that Jesus Christ told people not to tell anyone who He was and/or what He’d done. Jesus told evil spirits to shut up (1:25; 1:34; 3:12). He told people who’d received healing at His hand to keep it to themselves (1:43-45; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26). He even told his disciples not to tell anyone what they’d seen and heard (8:30; 9:9).

Why? Some say that Jesus didn’t really believe He was the Messiah. I beg to differ. Staying in Mark’s gospel, here’s why:

In 2:1-3:6 we read of some of the conflict Jesus had with the religious leaders of His day. Even though He didn’t come out and overtly proclaim His identity, He made enough implicit statements to get under their skins. In 5:19-20, He tells the man formerly known as Legion to go tell his family how much the Lord had done for him.  Jesus’ statements on His identity become less veiled in His last week, as we see from chapter 11 on: He accepts the praise from the people on Palm Sunday; He cleanses the Temple (the chief priests and elders confronted Him asking who gave Him the authority to do what He did); He even inserts Himself in the parable of the tenants.

I fall in with those who hold to the view that Jesus didn’t want to perpetuate the erroneous view of the Messiah that was prevalent in 1st-century Israel. Note that the man formerly known as Legion who became a missionary to his community wasn’t a Jew. The same goes for the Samaritan woman in John 4. Jesus had a plan—His Father’s plan—to purchase men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation (Revelation 5:9). I’m exceedingly grateful that He stuck to that plan!