A curious feature of the first half of Mark’s Gospel is the pattern of Jesus working a miracle, then telling the recipient of the miracle to keep still about it.
Many theories have been offered: Mark is setting the stage for the great “secret” revealed when Peter will proclaim Jesus the Messiah at Caesarea Philippi; more skeptical commentators offer that Jesus, fully aware of human nature, knew that the way to spread the news was to tell people to keep it secret.
The insight into this secret-keeping that serves us well, however, is that Jesus was initiating his public ministry according to the pattern that Paul describes. He was doing it for the glory of God—not for his own benefit, but for that of all. Paul would later write in Philippians that Jesus “humbled” himself to become like us. And we see this humility at work in today’s healing of the leper.
Jesus is trying to reveal the presence of God’s reign among the people, not so that he himself might receive the glory, but so that God would be glorified through him. Imitating this pattern, which Paul encourages the Jewish and Greek Christian factions in Corinth to do, still serves us well today.
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