Some people just cannot keep a secret! You tell them something that is time or situation sensitive and ask for (even demand) confidentiality and it just doesn’t happen! You’ve heard the rumors about their indiscretion – their inability to keep things to themselves – and true to form they “spill the beans.” You can almost see it in their eyes the moment you ask them for discretion… “it ain’t gonna happen!”
For Jesus timing was very important! In fact, Jesus told his brothers one time, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here!” (John 7:6) The Gospels reveal that Jesus was very aware of the importance of timing for His fulfillment of the redemptive plan of God.
Theologians have called this feature of Jesus’ ministry “the Messianic Secret.” Jesus guarded His identity for most of His earthly ministry. Messianic expectations in first-century Palestine ran high. Most of the nation was looking for a Messiah who would be a political revolutionary – someone who would come in and release the nation from Roman domination. But most of the nation failed to grasp the full role of the Messiah! They failed to grasp what the prophets predicted – a “suffering servant.” Jesus did not need a mob to arise and form a coup – He wanted people to embrace Him – and “the Kingdom of Heaven” – by faith! His encounter with the cross was part of God’s plan – It was necessary for Him to offer Himself for the sins of the world!
All of that this morning as a prelude to a wonderful story in the Bible…
They brought Jesus a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment. Jesus took him aside from the crowd and “looking up to heaven, sighed and said to him ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, his tongues was released, and he spoke plainly!”
Then the Bible says, “Jesus charged them to tell no one.” [Messianic Secret!] But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it! … They said, ‘He has done all things well!’” (from Mark 7:31-37)
It’s hard – really hard to keep quiet about something as wonderful as that! Almost impossible! There’s good news though… the time for keeping things like that secret is past! Jesus has fulfilled God’s redemptive plan! Now is the time to spread the good news of what Jesus has done – and what He can do! Oh may we “proclaim it zealously!”