The Messianic Secret & Great Expectations

“Jesus then asked [his disciples], ‘And you—what are you saying about me? Who am I? Peter gave the answer: ‘You are the Christ, the Messiah.’ Jesus then warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: ‘It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders … be killed, and after three days rise up alive.’  He said this simply and clearly so they couldn’t miss it. But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. ‘Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.’” (Mark 8:27b-33; The Message)

At the beginning of St. Mark’s gospel, Jesus casts out demons and heals the sick (v.34, 43-44). But then he says: “Don’t tell anyone about this.” In Mark, Chapter 3, Jesus heals many who are struggling with disease … Again he says, “Don’t tell anyone about this.” Further, in St. Mark’s gospel, Chapter 5, Jesus raises a little girl from the dead. And then in Chapter 8, just before our gospel reading for this coming weekend (see above quote), Jesus gives sight to a blind man.  And yet AGAIN, he strictly charges the people: “Don’t tell anyone.”

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George Winston

Why not? You’ve got to be kidding?! The long-awaited Messiah is here! I mean, you want to shout it from the roof tops. Cuz you’re as “high” as you’re gonna get! Right? So, it’s like OK to inhale; but don’t exhale?! Earlier this week during one of our Bible Studies at First Lutheran, this same question was asked: “Why in the world did Jesus say, ‘Don’t tell anyone about these things?’” (Biblical scholars refer to this classic question in St. Mark’s gospel as “The Messianic Secret.” Cf. J. Marcus; Mark I:525-527.)

So, why do you suppose this was? Think about it … Why didn’t Jesus want those who were healed or his disciples to holler-it-for-all-the-world-to-hear? … Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing a story from a time when I met the world famous pianist, George Winston at a concert, listen to his piece, “Thanksgiving” … and, well … many of my great expectations were turned upside down. I’ll weave this story together with our gospel text for this weekend at worship. Read Mark 8:27-38. And then bring your questions/expectations as to how Jesus reveals God’s love and salvation to the world, and yes, FOR YOU.

See you at worship.
j.r. christopherson
Senior Pastor