Twenty-three weeks into Mark’s Gospel we have seen a couple of consistent themes develop.
1) When people witnessed Jesus’ words and deeds they marveled in astonishment and amazement.
2) The major question (asked 7 times through 7 chapters) is “Who is this guy?”
The question of Jesus’ identity is asked different ways by different groups of people.
- The religious leaders ask “Who do you think you are?”
- The disciples ask, “Who in the world are you?”
- The suffering and desperate ask, “This is who you are…right?”
But the response of Jesus is pretty cryptic. He obviously knows who he is, but he’s waiting to unveil it in the time and place he sees fit. The tension grows stronger and stronger from chapter 1 through the end of chapter 7. The fame of Jesus spreads like a forest fire in central California, while he continually admonishes people to keep it under wraps.
Here are some examples:
Mark 1:24-25, 34: Jesus silences demons who seek to out him.
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are- the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”
…And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
Mark 1:43-44: Jesus charges a healed leper to keep quiet.
And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
Mark 3:11-12: More demons are silenced.
And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
Mark 5:43: Jesus puts a lid on any possible publicity after he raises a dead girl.
And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
Mark 7:36: After healing a deaf/mute man, Jesus tries to convince witnesses to keep quiet.
And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
It is clear to this point that Jesus never took a marketing class. Neither was he interested in hiring a publicist. As he is putting on the greatest display of miracles and supernatural power that the world has ever seen, all he asks for in return is silence. It seems a bit odd, right? Some have called this strategy of Jesus the “messianic secret.” Without the full context, it seems a bit counter-productive to his mission. But it was all intentional.
As chapter 8 unfolds the identity that Jesus has been concealing breaks forth in a glorious climax. His identity is revealed, making way for his mission to come into exact focus. It all comes to a head this Easter Sunday at LifePoint as Mark 8:27-38 reveals the true identity of the God/Man Jesus. Starting next week this identity will begin to come In Focus as chapter 8 starts to unfold.
Join us this Easter season as we find the answer to the most important question you’ll ever ask: “Who is Jesus?”