worst kept secret

August 2015 (24)Mark 1:40-45

40 Then a leper came to him, appealing to[1] him [and kneeling], and saying that “if you are willing,[2] you are able to clean me for yourself.” 41 And after being moved with compassion, by extending his hand he took hold of him for himself, and says to him “I am willing!” “Be made clean!” 42 And just then the leprosy went away from him and he was made clean. 43 Then after speaking sternly of himself to him, he quickly sent him away. 44 But He said to him, “Make sure that you say nothing to anyone; just go,[3] show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing that which Moses prescribed, for a testimony to them.” 45 But he went out and began to proclaim it frequently, and to spread the news around, with the result that Jesus was no longer able to publicly enter into a city, but stayed out in unpopulated places; and they were coming to Him for themselves from all directions.

worst kept secret

One explanation for why Jesus wanted the former leper to keep silent is the so-called messianic secret. The theory’s original proponent taught that “Jesus’ ministry was nonmessianic and that Mark or perhaps his source created the messianic secret motif to cover up or smooth over this embarrassing fact for his church audience.”[4] But if Jesus wanted to keep any aspect of his ministry a secret, he failed miserably. No, what he wanted to do was keep his power from becoming his only purpose. He had other purposes, and getting caught up in a popular healing ministry 24/7 would stifle those purposes. His heart was to share the excellent message, and he had his eyes on the cross even at this point in his ministry. Popularity as a healer could not be allowed to swallow up those higher purposes.

LORD, give us the wisdom to seek your purposes for our lives, and to avoid getting side-tracked with lesser things.


[1] παρακαλεω (1:40; 5:10, 12, 17f, 23; 6:56; 7:32; 8:22).

[2] θελω (1:40f; 3:13; 6:19, 22, 25f, 48; 7:24; 8:34f; 9:13, 30, 35; 10:35f, 43f, 51; 12:38; 14:7, 12, 36; 15:9, 12).

[3] υπαγω (1:44; 2:11; 5:19, 34; 6:31, 33, 38; 7:29; 8:33; 10:21, 52; 11:2; 14:13, 21; 16:7).

[4] Ben Witherington, The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdman’s Publishing, 2001), 40.

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About Jefferson Vann

Jeff is a Christian missionary.
This entry was posted in commitment, discernment, plan of God, purpose, wisdom and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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