The Messianic Secret — Please Don't Tell

Today, leprosy is a curable disease with the proper medicines, but it wasn't always that way. If a person had leprosy in the ancient world he was doomed to suffer a double terrible fate. First, his body would be ravaged beyond recognition and secondly, any ties he had with his community were severed, people shunned them. If touched, the person doing the touching became ritually unclean. Lepers were to be avoided at all costs. 

The law of the land dictated that if you had the disease, your clothing must be shredded, you were only allowed to wear rags, draped, tied or knotted around the body. Why this was one of the requirements is beyond me, except maybe in identifying oneself as a leper. They had to leave their hair uncombed so it would mat, also the reason is not clear but probably, again for identification. The lower part of the face had to be covered, and when out in public they would have to yell out as someone walked by, 

"I am unclean, I am unclean." Leviticus 13:45 

According to Mark's Gospel account, there was one leper during Jesus' time that approached him while he was preaching in a square. He knelt before him and to everyone's surprise Jesus touched him feeling pity for the man. He was instantly healed. As the man stood, Jesus commanded the man, not to tell anyone what he had done for him (the Messianic Secret) but to go to the high priest and show him in person, to prove that he was healed. Leviticus 14:2-32

Apparently the leper had a big mouth and couldn't keep a secret, he told everyone. 

The Messianic Secret

Why keep it a secret? Most scholars would agree, since Jesus was so popular with so many fans and followers, why not. After all, he was the star and I'm sure his promoters wanted more and more from him. The problem occurred when, every time he preformed a miracle of such a magnitude as healing the sick, it would draw in too many people that wanted to be healed. He had to draw the line somewhere. There were throngs of people needing healing, and not a seat left in the house, it kept him from his regular job of preaching.

People started to believe Jesus was their new Messiah, someone to rule the land with an iron fist, something Jesus knew he wouldn't be able to live up to, he wasn't the Messiah that the people were looking for. He was another kind of Messiah, one the people weren't used to. He didn't want to rule with a closed fist, he wanted to serve them with an open hand.

I wonder...

...if Jesus never ordered the man to keep it a secret would he have told anyone? 

You and I both know how hard it is to keep secrets, especially if someone tells you to, keep it secret. Chances are the secret will be the first thing that comes out of your mouth and won't be a secret anymore.

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