"And He asked them, 'But who do you say that I am?' Peter answered Him, 'You are the Christ.' And He strictly charged them to tell no one about Him." Mark 8:29-30 ESV
While listening to a Revelation Wellness podcast the other day, I was struck by these verses from Mark. I have read and heard them before, but it was in this moment I realized, there was a time Jesus told the disciples to refrain from doing what He commissioned us to do.
Though I know why Jesus told the 12 to not spill the beans right then, what struck me is that we never have nor will we ever hear the same from Jesus. Of course, this doesn't include times when
the Spirit directs us to not speak a certain word and/or to a specific audience (see Acts 16:6-10), as we should always obey His leading and trust His plan.
We may wish we could have witnessed Jesus' first coming, yet we neglect the blessing we have in living in times such as these. Like the 12, we have been transformed by the Gospel, but, unlike them, we don't have to keep it secret. We get to tell everyone!
Though they didn't understand it at the time, because the disciples heeded Jesus' warning to keep His deity on the down low, you and I are not only given the opportunity to be grafted into God's family, we get to tell everyone about it. Their patience paved the way for our freedom, their secrecy for our boldness.
Think of how difficult that must have been for the 12 and those whose lives Jesus had radically changed, like the deaf man, the leper and Jairus and his family. They witnessed Jesus restore hearing, heal disease and even raise someone from the dead, and He told them to tell no one. As a child I could hardly restrain myself from telling my parents about the trinkets I bought them for Christmas at Santa's Secret Shop at school. Do I have the same eagerness to tell others about Jesus? Do you?
Jesus commands us to tell everyone about Him and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). What are we doing with this gift? Sure, not everyone will receive our message. We may be ignored and mocked. Christians around the world are beaten, imprisoned and murdered for their witness, but it's because they, like Peter and John, testify, "'We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard'" (Acts 4:20).
What the disciples could not speak of for a time, we can openly share with our next door neighbor, discuss over coffee and sing about at the top of our lungs driving down the highway.
"'We cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard'" (Acts 4:20).
Of course it would have been amazing to be with Jesus as He walked around Galilee, but we have something greater. Jesus said so Himself when He told the 12 it was better for Him to leave, for it was then the Holy Spirit would come and give them power to glorify the Father and transform the world (see John 16).
So again I ask, what are we doing with such a gift?
Are we reserving it for Sunday mornings? Are we clinging to it with closed fists, only sharing with those who look, act and believe like us or when it's convenient and easy? Or are we glorifying God by sharing it whenever, wherever and with whomever the Spirit leads us? Jesus asks the same obedience of us as He did the 12 and the early Church. It's up to us if we will respond with equally willing and submissive hearts.
English Standard Version Bible. (2001). Crossway Bibles.