Can You Keep A Secret?

God is so not like me.

If I were Jesus, whenever I performed a miracle or healed someone or raised someone from the dead, I would say “Be sure to tell your friends! Spread the word, people. God is on the scene!”

I’d have appointed John as PR man for the Judean press and given him a list of talking points. I’d have encouraged Peter to start a blog about his experiences on the road with the Son of God. I might have had Thomas and James the Less hit every new town ahead of the rest of the team to start the buzz and gather the crowds.

But God is so not like me.

If you keep reading through Mark (remember Mark 5 and 6 from earlier this month?), continuing through Mark 7, 8 and 9, you can’t help but be struck by how often Jesus tells people NOT to tell anyone what He has done for them.

Some Biblical scholars refer to that as The Messianic Secret.

Get up and walk but don’t tell anyone that I did this. Open your eyes, you can see. Now don’t go running around telling everyone that I healed you. Who do you say that I am? The Christ? Good. You understand. Now tell no one.

What’s up with that?

Well, here’s what I think.

God is not like me. Jesus was able, amidst the temptation of adoring crowds, distractions of every kind, popularity, need, poverty, disease, demon possession, a growing following, miracles, people hanging on His every word, pressure from the Pharisees, pressure from his own disciples and the knowledge that one of them was plotting to betray Him, amidst all this – Jesus never lost sight of His purpose.

He knew who He was. He knew why He was here. He was the sacrificial lamb. He was the payment for sin. He was His Father’s plan for redemption. Even as the crowds cried out for Him and His poll numbers toppled all other contenders for King, He knew the path to His future went straight through the cross.

He was not on a promotional tour of earth. He was not running for God. He came to die and to rise again. Death would have to come first. Spreading the gospel would come later.

Jesus knew who He was and He knew why He was here and nothing diverted His attention from that plan laid out for Him by His Father, with whom He was in daily contact.

The disciples must have thought He was nuts when it came to this secrecy thing. What are you saying? Of course, they should tell people! Why are you silencing everyone? Aren’t you here to save, to lead, to be King? Lighten up! A couple of billboards, some print ads and a tasteful 30-second radio spot and we will own this place!

God is so not like me.

But I can be like Him.

I can learn from the Master. If I answer His call to come away with Him alone. If I quiet my soul, read His word and pray. If I am open to the work of His Spirit in my heart. If I obey what He commands and listen for His voice, then I, too, can know who I am in Him. I, too, can know His purpose for me on earth.

I, too, can learn to not be swayed by the crowd, distracted by popularity or followings, self-seeking, self-promoting, self-serving, living from sign to miracle to answered prayer. I can learn to seek God alone.

This is what God is like:

In I Kings 19:11-13 is this story of when God appeared to Elijah. “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.

After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake came a fire.

And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”

In a day when it seems the loudest voice with the best promotional team and the coolest graphics wins the day, remember that God is not like us.

But we can be like Him.

Shh, be very, very quiet.

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    The Conversation

  1. Dorothy P says:

    Hi, Lori:
    You strike a chord every time you post. You ease me out of this demanding, hustling, selfish world into a quiet place where I can hear the still, small voice. Thank you for another thoughtful, sincere message.

  2. Julie says:

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