Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”
This is the human condition: God says not to do something, so we do it. God says to do something, so we don’t do it.
Does it get any plainer than that?
It doesn’t matter what our attitude, what our reason. If God says “No” then we have a responsibility to not do it. And there are a number of reasons why.
· First of all, just the fact that God said it should be good enough. When the creator, sustainer of the universe says something, we should obey. Period.
· Second, it’s actually for our benefit to do what God says. He’s never vindictive or brutal with his children. He’s not just going to snap and slap us upside the head with his hand.
· Third, God has created us and the universe with certain laws. While he has the ability to go over, around and through the physical laws, he never violates Himself, His nature or His moral laws. He is always true to himself.
But Jesus didn’t just tell them not to tell anyone, he strictly commanded them not to talk it. It was for the benefit of the healed guy, and for Jesus too. He didn’t just make a request, but gave an order. The “just say no” from Jesus wasn’t just for his physical and emotional benefit, there was something more. It was for the benefit of his speaking and preaching ministry. With all this attention, he wasn’t able to see as many people as possible.
We have options when it comes to hiding from people. We have the luxury of being able to turn our cell phones off, ignore our Twitter or Facebook feeds, turn on the “out of office” option on our email. But there were no such options in that day. When people came, there were no options other than to go through them.
Now, I’m not giving them a pass, an excuse, or letting them off the hook. But Mark does give us some insight into the “why” they did what they did, said what they said.
They were amazed. Or as one writer puts it, they “were beyond measure astonished.” They were flabbergasted. Their astonishment at Jesus’ and his miracle was so great, they lost their ability to control themselves. They were amazed, but not just amazed, their amazement was super-sized.
Full Disclosure: I do not own McDonalds stock; I am also not part of Five Guys private ownership. Nor do any of my friends, relatives, or acquaintances work at or own a McDonald or Five Guys franchise.
But this being amazed isn’t like the difference between McDonalds French fries: small, medium, and large. No, it’s more like the difference between the small bag of fries at McDonalds and the large bagful of fries at Five Guys! The large fries at Five Guys comes with both a carbohydrate and cholesterol warning. It’s enough to feed an army.
And why were they out of their minds with excitement? Because Jesus had done everything well. They observed who Jesus was and what he had done. The result is that they came to the settled conviction that there was nothing else, nothing better that he could do.
Imagine that for a moment. Jesus had done everything that people could think of, there was nothing more that he could do. And what he did was accomplished fully, leaving nothing undone.
In my life, there is always something more to be done. Something gets left undone. I either forget to do it, or intentionally don’t do it.
But not Jesus. When he healed the deaf and mute man, there was nothing more to do. He fully restored and healed. When Jesus turns water into wine, it’s not just wine but “the best” wine. When God made the universe, world, and everything in it, “God saw that it was good.” And when everything was made, working together the way God intended, he declared that “it was very good.”
When God does something, he never does it halfway. He always completes any project he starts. And that includes you and me. He has a plan with an ending with him saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
I can’t speak for you, but that sure sounds good to me. Isn’t that the place you’re looking for? The words you yearn to hear?
They only come when we admit that we can’t do it on our own. That we’ve made a mess of our lives because we’re rebellious towards him, wanting our way instead of and above his. And then we receive his payment, forgiveness in and through Jesus.
And then we’re made whole.