Mum's the Word
April 20, 2021
Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ (Matthew 16:20).
You would think Jesus wanted to get the word out that He was the Christ sent by God to save Israel. All of His ministry in Judea, Galilee and the surrounding regions saw thousands of people coming to Jesus to hear Him teach and heal. What a great opportunity to reveal who He was on an ongoing basis. Why would Jesus prohibit the disciples at this time to stay quiet about His Messiahship?
It’s all about truth and perspective. It is true Jesus was, and is the Messiah of the Jews. He is the Christ sent from the courts of Heaven to save us from sin. However, the Jews were waiting for a Messiah that would conquer Rome and return the descendants of Abraham to the glory days of Kings David and Solomon. They were looking for a conquering hero who would secure their rights and freedom in the land promised to their forefathers - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Insofar as religion was concerned, the Jews believed they were ok with God. They had the commandments, oracles, precepts, statutes, sacrificial system, priesthood, etc. that was given to them by God. Although their hope was in God as Jews, their faith was in the religious system prescribed in Mosaic Law. All that was lacking was the purifying of the land from the pagan Roman presence and influence.
That’s why they rejected Jesus as their Messiah. He was not the political hero they were longing for. He would not fit the mold of the conquering Messiah they dreamed of. A Messiah to save them from sin? No, they had that covered (so they thought). A Christ who would open their eyes to a personal relationship with God? Didn’t need it. They were the sons and daughters of Abraham who had the personal relationship with God. That was enough for them. Salvation by a proxy. Redemption through ritual.
Jesus said to Pilate (John 18:36), My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm. His is a spiritual reality the Jews didn’t want to accept. To continue to press the claims of a spiritual, eternal Kingdom based on personal faith in Jesus as the true Messiah of God was to give what is holy to dogs, and to . . . throw pearls before swine (Matthew 7:6). They had done so with the Law and prophets, they would do so with Christ.
“Lord Jesus, I understand it was Your plan from the beginning that You would come to Your own people and they would reject You for who You really are. We face the same spiritual obstacle today. People do not want a spiritual Savior. They want a political, financial, vocational, or humanitarian savior. May we not compromise the truth of who You are with the wants and wishes of who the people want You to be. To the praise and glory of God I ask, Amen.”