Thursday, August 13, 2015

"And He Gave Them Orders Not To Tell Anyone": Why?

Question: When we read Matthew and Mark in the Bible, we find that Jesus tells people he heals to "not to tell anyone" who he is. Why does it say Jesus did that?

AP: This is the messianic secret call. It's a literary tactic that Mark and his colleagues use to explain how it was possible that the Son of God failed in his mission and was subsequently crucified. We cannot ascribe any historical value to such statements.

If you would like to read more about this and can read a little bit of Spanish, you can see my book Guía para entender el Nuevo Testamento (Madrid: Trotta, 2011).

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TWH: Jesus understood that he had an appointed time to drink his appointed cup. We see this in each of the Gospels, but explicitly stated, for example, at the end of his ministry when he tells the disciples  that "the hour has come" (Matt. 26:45). Part of the predetermined plan of God involved the exact time and place of the crucifixion of the Messiah. I say part because that predetermined plan included much more, such as his sufferings and the events surrounding the crucifixion–prophecies found in the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. Jesus had a couple of reasons, in my opinion, for commanding people (and demons) from identifying who he was early on. First, he did so as an opportunity to test individuals. Second, he did so to prevent the people from doing something like they attempted to do once . . . they tried to take him by force so that they could seat him on David's throne (John 6:15). The power of Jesus' miracles, if not controlled, could result in coronation, but it would be coronation without the repentance of the people, which was a prerequisite for Jesus to sit on David's throne. Remember, that's why he was preaching "repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." These records of Jesus commanding people not to identify him are accurate and historical. Don't forget too, Jesus did this with not just people he had healed, but also with demons. See Mark 1:33-35. The spokesdemon identifies Jesus as the "Holy One of God." That's why Jesus tells him to be quiet and come out, not just come out.

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