He ordered them not to speak.

In Lent 24 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

As the sun went down that evening, people throughout the village brought sick family members to Jesus. No matter what their diseases were, the touch of his hand healed everyone. Many were possessed by demons; and the demons came out at his command, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But because they knew he was the Messiah, he rebuked them and refused to let them speak.

Luke 4:40-41, NLT

If you had the philosophy of almost every person who is trying to start something new, you’d want everyone to know what you were doing. You would probably hire a marketing firm to promote your new project and you’d want them to seize every opportunity to spread the good news. You would hand out business cards with all your contact information and hand out tchotchkes with your business printed boldly on them.

Not Jesus. On multiple occasions he forbade people to speak of him and what he was doing. This seems, to me a strange strategy. Suppressing the good news of his ministry. Unless, of course, Jesus did not trust the way that his mission would be represented to the world.

There was a manifestly erroneous understanding of who Jesus was and what he had come to do. His followers believed that Jesus’ ministry had to do with the Roman empire and its occupation of Israel. Jesus was thought to be the Messiah who would destroy Roman power.

Luke tells us about how Jesus’ healing ministry was misunderstood too. “Follow this man and you will be healed” was the message Jesus wanted to suppress. That was not his mission. The good news was far greater than the healing of someone’s leprosy. The good news was, rather, that Jesus had come to defeat sin and death and restore us to our rightful relationship with God.

Matthew tells the story of a conversation between Jesus and his disciples. When Peter protested Jesus’ comment that he was on his way to Jerusalem to be killed and to rise from the dead. To Peter’s complaint Jesus replied, “Get behind me Satan.” This underscores how important Jesus’ exact message was to him.

Something to think about: How do you think you might miscommunicate Jesus’ mission?

Something to pray about: O Christ of God. We bow before you and give you praise for the courageous and faithful way that you lived your life and carried out your mission. Help us to be faithful to you and to your message, your good news. May we keep it pure and unadulterated. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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