“Tell No One”

Mark 3:12 (ESV)
"And he strictly ordered them not to make him known."

At first glance, it would seem odd that Jesus would want to keep His miraculous healings and exorcisms secret. After all, if those around would hear of what He was capable of doing, surely they would see Him as who He was, right?

No, in fact it was the exact opposite. He was accused of being Beelzebub by the Pharisees after they witness Him healing a demon-possessed, blind and mute man (Matthew 12:22-24), a concern so great that even His own family thought He was crazy (Mark 3:20-21).

There are several Scriptural verses about Jesus commanding individuals to tell no one about what they have experienced: healing the two blind men (Matthew 9:30–31); the man in the synagogue with a withered hand (Mark 3:12); a leper (Matthew 8:4); the daughter of the ruler of the synagogue (Mark 5:43); the many who were healed (Matthew 12:16); the demons He cast out (Mark 1:34); Peter, James, and John after witnessing His Transfiguration (Matthew 17:9).

So why would He not want these people (and demons) to tell of His miracles?

We see a clue in Mark 1:45: “But He went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to Him from every quarter.”

Jesus knew that the publicity brought by His healings would detract from His mission and message. If they focused more on His miracles, they would overlook His purpose for coming to Earth. He knew He had an appointment with the cross, and the growing crowds could make that destiny more challenging to achieve.

It’s important to remember that Israel’s belief is that the Messiah (Mashiach) will be one (a human) from the Davidic line who rebuilds Jerusalem and will be a great political and military leader—something completely contrary to the ministry of Jesus. Should the crowds continue to swell, the possibility of an uprising against Roman rule would be likely, thus thwarting the true purpose of His mission.

This is true as evidenced in the Scriptural verses cited above. But what about Mark 5:19-20?

In those verses, Jesus tells the previously demon-possessed man to go back into his town and tell everyone what has happened to him. By understanding the location of this healing, we see the reason this is different from the others. In the verses cited previously where Jesus told the people to tell no one, this was because all of these occurred within Israel while the demon-possessed man in Mark occurred in gentile lands.

Our Lord’s primary mission field was first to Israel (Matthew 15:24; 26), yet we see instances of compassion on gentiles as well. Further, we can see Mark 5:19-20 as an example of one of the earliest appointed evangelists to the gentiles in the Scriptures.

The takeaway from this post is that the message Jesus wants us to deliver is the same now as it was then: It’s not about focusing on the healings and miracles; but rather on the message of salvation that comes only through Jesus Christ.

Go, and tell others.