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Ask the Pastor

† Theological musings and answers to selected questions by a confessional Lutheran pastor.

11 August 2005

A Time to not Tell about Jesus

Q: I am confused. When Jesus does miracles, he tells His disciples and the people who receive or witness His miraculous aid to not tell anyone. He commands that his identity not be revealed and that His actions not be spread. Why is this?

A: I think that the main reason is that He was not yet ready to claim the title of Messiah publicly. Once that happened, it wouldn’t be much longer until the authorities moved openly against Him.

You’ll notice that near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus tended to stop asking that the stories not be spread. He knew that His hour was coming, and that as His reputation spread, so would the opposition to Him. Thus, He opened Himself up to the coming assault of the religious leaders in order to be arrested, tried, and crucified that He might pay for our sins. However, this wasn’t until all that He had been sent to do by the Father had been accomplished.

Indeed, the greatest miracle prior to His Passion was the raising of Lazarus (see John 11:1-44). Immediately afterwards, unbelieving witnesses “went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. (v. 46)” The Pharisees joined with the often-hated priestly party and held a secret debate about His influence upon the nation and their own fears of His popularity (vv. 47-53). John’s account of this meeting concludes, “So from that day on they made plans to put him to death. (v. 53)” The final verses of the chapter (54-57) discuss His inability to be out among the people and the implementation of the plot on His life.

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles.

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Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.


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