The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Why did Jesus order the disciples not to tell anyone about Him?


There were times Jesus ordered the disciples not to tell anyone about Him which seemed to contradict the idea of spreading the good news. Why did He do this?


My favourite answer so far is Jesus was trying to control the timing of His execution for maximum effect.

Another question: why is this idea of Messianic secrecy concentrated in the gospel of Mark?




Thanks, I read those, but other than disagreeing with Wrede’s idea, they don’t give a satisfactory explanation for the concentration in Mark.


It depends on what you mean by "satisfactory’. In essence, there are answers to philosophical and theological questions…by renown churches, theologians and philosophers…but no answer will satisfy everyone.

And there are “non-traditional” answers. For example. The clergy of the Liberal Catholic church, would say Jesus wants to teach esoteric ideas - chiefly to his disciples. And he probably doesn’t want to be bothered - by the masses - to teach his ideas. And probably Mark, was one of the highest initiates - in the esoteric teachings of Jesus.

Most likely, Mark was around the most…when Jesus said these things, regarding keeping things on the QT.

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Jesus wasn’t going to be rail-roaded by someone else’s agenda… they would have rushed to make him king but that was contrary to his own purposes. Besides which… the commissioning call to gospel proclamation came at the end of his ministry.

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Yes probably timed to be close to his resurrection the single most important event in human history!


Here are some other reasons, from this article:

Why would Jesus try to keep his identity a secret?

Jesus wouldn’t let demons say who he was

The demons presented two problems: not only were they telling people who Jesus was before he wanted them to know (see #3), they were doing it in a way that wasn’t going to help him. Demons were hardly reputable sources of information, and Jesus would not want people to base their faith in him (or anything at all) on what demons had said. HSOTB points out that the demons’ statements would only lend more credence to the “Jesus serves Satan” theory the Pharisees tried to promote in Mark 3:22.

Jesus healed people but told them not to tell anyone

One problem with people’s spreading the word about Jesus healing them was that it resulted in large crowds following him around (Mk 1:41-45, 3:9-10). If everyone was crowding around him trying to touch him and clamoring to be healed, it would be harder for him to preach - and preaching, not healing, was his primary objective (Lk 4:42-43). It’s also possible that Jesus wanted to be modest or at least not have people think he had worldly motives - HSOTB points out that he told the demon-possessed man in Gerasene to tell his family what God had done for him, not what Jesus had done for him (Mk 5:19).

. Jesus told his disciples he was the Messiah, but told them to keep it secret

HSOTB says that contemporary Jews had many misconceptions of who the Messiah was going to be. Some didn’t believe there would be a Messiah; others thought there would be two Messiahs (a king descended from David and a Levite high priest); still others were waiting for a warrior-king to overthrow the Romans. If Jesus told everyone he was the Messiah, people would assume he was something he wasn’t, and he’d have to get past their misconceptions before he could start teaching them anything. Instead, Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Man, which could be interpreted as “human being” (as used in Ezekiel) or as meaning he had power and authority from God (as in Daniel 7:13). Jesus did tell some people he was the Messiah when they were ready/able to understand it, e.g. his disciples and the Samaritan woman (Jn 4:25-26).

Well, here’s the problem! Nowhere in either Holy Scripture or Sacred Tradition, are these questions answered. So the answers given by Davo, Steve, Got Questions, Wiki, and this article author - are ALL valid and logical…The REAL answer is problem multi-faceted. Like the question, “why did Jesus die on the cross?”

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