When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened. And Jesus sternly warned them, saying, “See that no one knows it.” But when they had departed, they spread the news about Him in all that country. (Matthew 9:27-31 NKJV, emphasis mine)
Jesus often performed personal miracles in private settings and then He would say something like, “be sure to tell no one” (Mark 1:40-45, 5:21-43, 7:31-37, 8:22-26). In fact, some passages say that He “strictly warned them” or “commanded them” to say nothing. But why? It doesn’t seem to make much sense on the surface. Was this some form of reverse psychology?
Why would He want to keep the news of His power and authority quiet during some instances but not others? He willingly performed “big” miracles for big crowds (Mark 6:30-44, 8:1-6). He even told a formerly demon-possessed man to go and share his testimony with others (Mark 5:1-20). Many knew about these miracles, so why try keep other miracles hush-hush?
Often those He commanded to keep quiet disobeyed and the news of His power would quickly spread. And at times the crowds of spectators would gather so quickly that Jesus would be forced to leave.
However, (the cleansed leper) went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.” (Mark 1:45 NKJV)
…but the more He commanded them, the more widely they proclaimed it.” (Mark 7:36 NKJV)
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think everyone in the crowd was a spectator — someone who came out just to gawk and see a show. Many needed Jesus and they knew it. Take for example the crowds that had followed Him intentionally into deserted places for days. They had no food and sacrificed their need for sustenance just to be with Him.
…they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat.” (Mark 8:2 NKJV)
These people weren’t going hungry just so they could to gawk at Jesus. They let themselves go hungry because they wanted to be with Him and to learn from Him. Jesus saw them as lost sheep in need of the Good Shepherd. Jesus, through a miracle, gladly and openly provided for them.
So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Now those who had eaten were about four thousand. (Mark 8:6-9 NKJV)
Those who had experienced more private miracle, they hadn’t looked for Jesus in order to gawk at Him either. And many of them didn’t just happen to find Him. They searched Him out, looking for and expecting a miracle. They knew their desperate need for His presence and the healing touch that He alone could provide. He responded to their desperation with love and compassion.
So I return to our question: why would Jesus say to some people, but not other, to “tell no one?” I believe Jesus knew what would happen. More often than not, people would gather to stare, gawk, and expect a show. He wanted — and deserved — to be more than a spectacle.
Jesus was not a show, He was God. He IS God!
Jesus wanted to be surrounded by people who truly desired to be near Him for who He was — their Shepherd, their Lord, their Savior, Healer, and Redeemer. I believe that is still the same today.
So we must each ask ourselves: why am I drawing near to God? Am I looking for a show? Am I only seeking out what He can do for me?
Or am I drawing near to God to simply be in His presence? To know His touch? To worship and adore Him? To learn from Him and let Him lead? Am I drawing near to Jesus because HE IS GOD?
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to You now and confess my selfish motives for seeking out Your Son. Please forgive me and by Your grace give me proper motives. By Your Spirit lead me into a relationship that honors You, a relationship of worship and adoration, a relationship where You lead and I willingly follow. In Your name I pray, amen.
I encourage you to look closely at your heart. Be honest with yourself and with Jesus. Confess any selfish reasons for desiring Him and thank Him for still loving you and pursuing you anyway. As always, don’t just take my thoughts as fact. Read the Word for yourself, seek the Lord, and listen to what He may be speaking to you.
Only by grace,