“And his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was removed, and he began speaking plainly. And He gave them orders not to tell anyone; but the more He ordered them, the more widely they continued to proclaim it.” – Mark 7:35-36
It’s a mystery to me that sometimes Jesus told those whom he healed to go and tell others, and sometimes he told them to keep silent. The reasons for this are not always obvious from scripture, and I’ve read several commentaries that try to give various explanations. But all attempts at explanation aside, there’s one thing that I cannot get past- that disobedience to Christ, no matter how well-intentioned, is still disobedience.
I don’t want to read too much into this passage here. The man who was deaf and dumb was indeed healed by Christ, but the fact remains that Jesus kept ordering him not to tell anyone what he had done, but he just kept doing it.
Hendriksen takes a pretty strong view of the man when he says, “…it takes more than admiration and enthusiasm to be a true follower of Christ. Many Christ-admirers are lost. The true mark of discipleship is revealed in John 15:14, ‘You are my friends if you do what I bid you.’ The people were doing just the opposite.”
This takes me to a place of self-examination. Am I a Christ-follower or simply a Christ-admirer?
“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Matthew 10:43-45
This seems to defy human thinking. Just take a look at children, what do they do? They fight for the front seat in the car, they want the first piece and biggest piece of cake, they want to be the leader of the pack, etc. Our natural tendencies are not to sit in the back seat, but to drive the car.
Probably the most famous missionary quotes of the twentieth-century was made by Jim Elliot when he said “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Men and women who spend their lives in the pursuits of power and fame lose everything in the end. Those who seek first the kingdom of God and walk as Christ walked, serving others, gain everything in the end.
Lord, I pray that you help me to keep this in the forefront of my very human mind.