Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
Sears was famous for tools and appliances. So, to show that they were more, they put out a series of softer side commercialsto show that they were more than just hardware. Yes, they were known for somethings, but there was oh so much more to Sears as a company and in their stores.
And Jesus does something like that. He’s known for his teaching and miracles, which have given him a very positive image, making him very popular. Jesus has this “feel good” impression, attracting people from all over.
But Jesus goes in a different direction with his words of a strong warning to this guy that he just healed. Instead of telling him to post his healing, including before and after pictures on social media, Jesus basically tells him to go in the other direction.
Jesus’ instruction not to tell anyone just doesn’t seem to make sense. After all, the more people that hear about this great and powerful miracle, the more people that will come to Jesus. Isn’t that a good thing?
Jesus doesn’t give multiple suggestions to choose from, ask him his opinion, enter a dialogue with him, handout a questionnaire or survey. Jesus gives a command. Period. And this command starts with doing the exact opposite that we think about: not talking about it publicly.
Instead, Jesus' initial command is to have this healing authenticated before God and society as a whole. This was going to take some time and effort.
1. Leave Capernaum and travel about 80 miles to Jerusalem.
2. Find a priest who would go with him outside the city.
3. Let the priest carefully examine him, looking over every inch to ensure that he was “clean” and totally healed.
4. Once the healing was officially confirmed, the priest sprinkles him with specially prepared water seven times.
5. He then washes himself and his clothes, plus shaves his entire body.
6. Wait seven days.
7. Rewash himself and his clothes, plus shave his entire body again.
8. Wait one more day.
9. Brings a sacrifice to the temple and waits outside while the priest takes them inside and performs the first part of the sacrifice.
10. The priest comes outside, and anoints the person who has been cleansed.
11. The priest returns inside and performs the second part of the sacrifice.
12. The priest then finally comes outside one last time to pronounce him clean, free to rejoin society and worship.
Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking. Boy, that seems like a whole lot of trouble and bother for something that’s already happened. After all, he’s already clean. Why jump through all those hoops, ceremonies, and sacrifices?
The answer is that there are times not to immediately say anything about God’s goodness, mercy, and miracles in your life. There are times when we are to retreat and just be with him, thanking God individually.
Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist understood this. After many years of godly living, yet unfulfilled motherhood, she becomes pregnant through the promise of God. And what’s her initial reaction: not to Tweet it to the world, not to post a video on social media, not to create a Zoom conference call with all her family and friends. Instead, she actively and purposely hides herself and her pregnancy for five months.
Most living done here on planet Earth is done in private. Most of your words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes are done within the small bubble called your life. You might think you’re hardwired to people through your phone, but the truth is that you are mostly alone with your thoughts.
You may not be connected to people during most of your day, but you are 100% connected to God, 100% of the time. And there are times that connection is so precious that it deserves 100% of your time and attention.
That should bring you great comfort, knowing that your loving heavenly Father is actively with you. If that brings fear, then you don’t really understand who God is, how he thinks and feels towards you. This is where you need to start believing and seeing his softer side.