Preach the Gospel to Yourself, Part 2

Friend,

The best secret I was ever asked to keep happened when I was ten years old, just before Christmas 1970. Mom took me into her confidence about an amazing gift she had purchased for Dad: a Casio handheld calculator. I had never seen anything so amazing as the bright blue glowing digits (and it only cost $85!). Then Mom swore me to secrecy. “I want this to be a surprise, so don’t tell!” I don’t remember if I kept the confidence, but I do remember that those weeks until Christmas seemed like years.

Have you ever noticed in the Gospel accounts how many times Jesus asked His disciples to not tell anyone about His true identity as Messiah? The “messianic secret” is most pronounced in the Gospel of Mark. It seems like after every miraculous event that pointed to His true identity, Jesus admonished the beneficiary of the miracle with a strong warning: “See that you say nothing to anyone” (Mark 1:43). By the time you reach the end, you’re about ready to explode. How can we keep such great good news a secret? The Messiah is here!

Jesus was delaying the announcement of the good news, in part, because people didn’t understand just what kind of Messiah He was (and that included the twelve!). They wanted a king to give the nation a better life on earth. Jesus wanted something much, much better for them: eternal life and a kingdom that meant God’s salvation blessings for every nation. So He enjoined their silence until after He was risen from the dead (see Mark 1:43; 3:12; 5:43; 7:36; 8:26,29; 9:9).

Finally, near the end of Mark’s Gospel, the secrecy is lifted and the women at the empty tomb are encouraged to “go, tell” (16:7). Then we read with incredulity, “. . .and they said nothing to anyone; for they were afraid” (16:8). How ironic! But Mark is trying to prod his readers, both then and now, into an explosion of TELLING.

The Gospel is the best secret you never keep. May the Resurrection Sunday we just celebrated motivate us all to be blabbermouths for the Gospel to everyone we meet!

About Sam Harbin
I am the President of Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA as well as the Chair and Professor of Pastoral Theology.

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