In many places in the Gospel where we read about miracles Jesus performed, we also read that He forbid the healed person to spread the word. This seems strange at first sight: why would Jesus not want everybody to know of the miracles He performed?
Too much attention
Jesus had not come to make name as a healer. He did not want His miracles to attract too much attention, because it could hamper His ministry. This is indeed what happened after Jesus had healed the leper in Mark 1:40-45. Jesus commanded the leper to go show himself to the priest for inspection. This was important because in this way, objective proof for his healing could be obtained and the healed leper could then enter society again. Jesus also sternly commanded him to keep quiet but the healed man did the opposite. As a result, Jesus could not openly enter a town anymore!
There are a number of other examples where Jesus tells people to keep quiet about their healing: Matthew 8:1-4, Matthew 9:27-30, Matthew 12:16, Mark 3:11-12. Almost in each case Jesus ‘sternly’ or ‘strictly’ ordered them not to make known what had happened.
In Luke 8:26-39 we read about Jesus healing a demon-possessed man. This takes place in the country of the Gerasenes, a Gentile territory. After the man is healed, he wishes to follow Jesus, but Jesus sends him away with the words: “Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” Instead of keeping quiet, the man had to proclaim to everyone what Jesus had done! And he did! (Luke 8:39). Then, in the same chapter, we read about Jairus’ daughter. She is only 12 years old and she dies, but Jesus raises her from the dead. He charges the parents to tell no one what had happened (Luke 8:56). Here, Jesus was back in Jewish territory. Many people had wrong expectations of the Messiah who would come. They hoped that the Messiah would deliver them from the Roman oppressors and would establish his earthly kingdom. But Jesus had not come to overthrow any political powers, He had come to preach God’s kingdom and justice (Matthew 12:18-21), and to die on the cross for our sins.
During Jesus’ time on earth, many people had wrong expectations of Him, including His own disciples (Acts 1:6). Today, many people still do. But Jesus will never disappoint you if you put your hope in Him for eternal salvation. He came to reconcile you with your Maker (Romans 5:10-11) and to bring peace in your heart (John 14:27).
How does this Bible passage speak to you? Please share your thoughts below!