A Command that No Longer Applies

That evening after sunset, many sick and demon-possessed people were brought to Jesus. 33 The whole town gathered at the door to watch. 34 So Jesus healed many people who were sick with various diseases, and he cast out many demons. But because the demons knew who he was, he did not allow them to speak.

35 Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. 36 Later Simon and the others went out to find him. 37 When they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

38 But Jesus replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too. That is why I came.” 39 So he traveled throughout the region of Galilee, preaching in the synagogues and casting out demons.

40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.

41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” 42 Instantly the leprosy disappeared, and the man was healed. 43 Then Jesus sent him on his way with a stern warning: 44 “Don’t tell anyone about this. Instead, go to the priest and let him examine you. Take along the offering required in the law of Moses for those who have been healed of leprosy. This will be a public testimony that you have been cleansed.”

45 But the man went and spread the word, proclaiming to everyone what had happened. As a result, large crowds soon surrounded Jesus, and he couldn’t publicly enter a town anywhere. He had to stay out in the secluded places, but people from everywhere kept coming to him. – Mark 1:32-45

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Wildflowers | Wimberly, Texas | June 2020

How good are you at keeping a secret? I’m not going to tell you one. But how about it? If you’re told something in confidence, are you good for it? I have jokingly said that if you want Diane not to know something, tell me. I don’t tell her anything! While that’s not precisely true, I do guard secrets carefully. And I’ve had opportunity to keep plenty of them over the years. Sometimes to my own detriment (think of not being able to tell specifics about a human resources situation). 

On two different occasions Jesus seeks to prevent the message about his powerful ministry getting out. He will not allow the demons to speak when he casts them out. One commentator observes: 

[Jesus’] plan—to reveal Himself as the Messiah, God, and the Son of God—was not served by the testimony of His enemy. One of Satan’s favorite tools is to twist the truth to his own ends. Jesus would not let the demons lay a hand on the truth to twist it. Bible Ref

Interesting to me, also is that when Jesus tells the now-healed man with leprosy that he should tell no one, it doesn’t work. The man can’t keep the secret. And Jesus’ ministry was shaped by that fact. He was relegated to out-of-the-way places in an attempt to carry out his ultimate mission. Yet people continued to come to see him. 

Jesus has dominion over the powers of Satan even in his state of humiliation. He commands the demons to remain silent. The power of his character as a man without sin gives him the ultimate advantage over the powers of evil. They cannot find a foothold to gain an advantage over him. 

Jesus does not seek so much to control his followers as to influence them. He will not make the former leper his new puppet, but he will urge him to keep quiet about the miraculous healing Jesus performed. To no avail. 

Jesus accomplished his mission – against the powers of Satan, and in the face of disobedient followers. We are now no longer under a gag order. The command that was given only to this man, “Tell no one,” is one that all too many Christians keep. But that no longer applies. We are to tell others. We are to witness to what Jesus has done. 

Do you have a story to tell? Are you excited enough about it to let others know what has happened in your live? If so, it’s definitely OK to tell the story. Please do. 

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