“Don’t Tell Anyone!”
By Pastor Jerry Donovan
In the Gospels, Jesus has a secret. It is often called “The Messianic Secret” and it is particularly noticeable in Mark. Jesus is secretive about his identity. Jesus abstains from assuming any Messianic title for himself as shown in Mk. 8:29-30: “He asked them, ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Peter answered him, ‘You are the Messiah.’ And he sternly ordered them not to tell anyone about him”.
He chooses a mysterious type of teaching. He teaches in parables in which the secret of the kingdom of God lies hidden, as he explains in verse 4:11, “And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables.”’
He repeatedly “sternly orders” people not to tell his secret. “Shhhh,” is Jesus’ message to: demons he exorcizes (see Mark 1:25, 34; 3:11); to a leper healed (1:44), a synagogue leader whose daughter he restores to life (5:43), a deaf man he restores to speech (7:36), a blind man at Bethsaida he restores to sight (8:26), and to Peter, James and John as they descend the Mount of Transfiguration (9:9).
“Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 61 But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, ‘Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?’ 62 Jesus said, ‘I am; and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’” (Mark 14:60-61)
This secrecy expresses the heart of Jesus’ divine identity. The healings and exorcisms reveal the effects of Jesus identity and divine power. Is “The Messianic Secret” really a secret? No, and yes. It is and remains a secret to those who define power and authority in conventional ways. Those who seek conventional power and authority seek far different advice for living. It is available in countless books, blogs and seminars offering “secrets for success.”
Jesus’ authority and power come from his willingness to submit himself to God in sacrificial love for us. We are called to do the same for one another. Those who would be disciples of the mysterious Messiah of Mark’s gospel do well to keep a slip of paper in a safe place on which is written the real secret of the kingdom of God in Mark: Divine power only flows through a life shaped by the cross.
In a culture and a time that holds an opposite understanding of the source and purpose of power, we continually need this reminder. As Christians, we all know at an intellectual level the secret of the kingdom of God: divine power only comes from a life shaped by the cross. We know it the same way we know our left from our right. But the whole person has to get involved, not just the intellect and the lip service; when it comes to moving in one direction or another. If we are living faithful lives, seeking to serve others and love them as Christ loved us, it’s no secret to anyone.
If you would like more information and are looking for a place to believe, belong, and be useful, join us Sunday morning at the corner of 4th and Crockett streets, 10:30 am CST in the Fellowship Hall of the Methodist Church.