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Jesus, Secracy of


During the public ministry of Jesus, there were occasions when he did not want to reveal his identity as the Messiah. After the Transfiguration of Jesus, he ordered Peter, James, and John “to tell no one about what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead” (Mk 9:9). Jesus instructed demons not to reveal his identity as the Son of God. When Jesus was in Capernaum, he saw a man with an unclean spirit in the synagogue there. The demon-possessed man said, “I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!” (Mk 1:24-25). Later, “He drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him” (Mk 1:34). “And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, ‘You are the Son of God.’ He warned them sternly not to make him known” (Mk 3:11:12).

Sometimes Jesus instructed the recipients of healing, the crowd, and his disciples to avoid publicizing his favors for them or his divine identity. After healing a leper, Jesus said, “See that you tell no one, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses prescribed; that will be proof for them” (Mt 8:4; Mk 1:43-44). After raising Jairus’ daughter, “he gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat” (Mk 5:43). After healing a deaf man whom people brought to Jesus, “He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it” (Mk 7:36). After Peter confessed Jesus as the Messiah, “he warned them not to tell anyone about him” (Mk 8:30).

Why had Jesus wanted to keep secrecy? The following could be the possibilities:

1. God had restricted the revelation of the Kingdom of God and Jesus’ divine identity to a limited number of people whom He chose until his resurrection. When the disciples asked Jesus why he spoke to the public in parables, he answered, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you. But to those outside everything comes in parables, so that ‘they may look and see but not perceive, and hear and listen but not understand, in order that they may not be converted and be forgiven’” (Mk 4:11-12).

2. Since Jesus had to preach the Kingdom of God, a wider publicity of his miracles would impede his movement in other areas. Mark reports, “Whatever villages or towns or countryside he entered, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and begged him that they might touch only the tassel of his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed” (Mk 6:56). When Jesus was leaving Capernaum to preach in the synagogues of Judaea, the crowds “tried to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, ‘To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent’” (Lk 4:42-44).

3. The opponents of Jesus were after him. The more miracles he worked and the more popularity he gained as a result, the more was his life at risk. Jesus did not want a premature death until his time that the Father determined was at hand (Jn 7:8).

However, the secrecy was not permanent. After the inauguration of the Church on the day of Pentecost, the disciples could reveal and announce the secrets of the kingdom of God to all and sundry. A premature revelation of the secrets of the messianic role of Jesus could have disrupted his redemptive mission. After his resurrection, all the disciples were able to understand the mystery of the transfiguration and other secrets hidden from them.


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