“…not to make him known?”
Matthew 12:16 ESV
Why wouldn’t Jesus want them to make Him known?
Isn’t this precisely what He commanded His followers to do before He ascended to Heaven?
What am I missing here?
This was not a suggestion but a clear command, as a five star General would command his troops on the frontline of battle. In essence he would shout over the thundering approach of the enemy’s assault:
“Hold your fire!”
When I read this in context (which is always how we should), I see this as an opportune time like no other to shout about Jesus.
Look what He has done! Not only does He perform miracles like no one else could, but also shows compassion and mercy to the suffering. He teaches with authority, proclaims justice for the outcast, and demonstrates God’s concern for the downtrodden.
Perhaps even more, He silenced the accusations of the self-appointed religious leaders for confusing God’s true intention in giving the Torah to His people.
So why not shout it out?
Ironically of all the lessons of Jesus the Messiah, this is perhaps the easiest and at the same time, the most difficult one.
“...not to make Him known.”
At first it seems like we as followers are “off the hook.” We can just be quiet about Jesus. We don’t have to make Him known. We don’t have to be embarrassed or debated. Let others see how we behave and let them come to their own conclusions.
There is some truth to that and denominations have even formed out of that conclusion. They consider themselves the “Quiet in the land.”
In contrast, other denominations have ignored that command completely. They teach new converts to go and tell everyone about Jesus without taking the time to first learn at His feet in preparation for the life ahead, just as His disciples were taught.
So who is right?
That is really not the question to ask. If Jesus gave an order in His day, it must have something to do with us in our day. When do I not tell others about Him and when do I? There must be something in the waiting period that is meaningful.
So what is it?
Discipleship. The reason Yeshua, the Jewish Messiah came to Israel was so that Israel would take the message that is deeply rooted in their faith to the nations of the world. They were called to be a blessing to all the families of the earth and a light to the Nations. Before we can give something to someone we must take ownership of it.
Until Jesus came on the scene, that message was all too often overlooked.
But in the centuries that followed Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, Israel and the Jewish people were excluded from the church. As a result, the church lost its roots. Just like the seed that fell amongst the rocky soil it began to grow healthily but withered when the sun beat down.
The disciples in Jesus’ day recognized that Jesus came in the fullness of time to fulfill the prophecy of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. It was called the new covenant. God intended the Jewish people to receive it and pass it on. God gave it to Abraham as a blessing and then to his descendants to bring to the families of the earth. Not only did it pre-date Moses, but also God foretold it to Adam and Eve.
The roots of this blessing, which is crucial to the human drama, could not be any deeper.
But when the Jewish Believers were excluded from the story, the roots were dismissed as well.
Omitting Israel is like a gardener boasting about the great garden he inherited before it has yielded a crop. If the crop fails to yield delectable fruit, you lose your customers.
The message of salvation and eternal hope in Jesus is one hundred percent true and vital for all to hear, but without rootedness, its crop cannot bear the brutality of the heat of the mid-Summer sun.
More than ever, the church needs to reclaim her roots. The world is gasping to get a glimpse of the authenticity and relevance of the message we have received.
All creation is groaning in travail for the revealing of men and women who are filled with grace and truth and eager to show mercy. This is the essence of the Gospel message and it is what makes the devil tremble.
It is the eternal purpose of God, founded in the One New Man—the unbreakable union of Jewish and Gentile Believers—fully functioning in the love of Jesus the Messiah and armed and dangerous against the forces of spiritual darkness.
This is the purpose of Comfort My People and this is how we can make Him known.