Friday, May 25, 2018

The Hidden Christ

"Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ" (Luke 4:41).

During the past few days, we have studied the King and the kingdom Jesus was announcing. Even though Jesus was concealing His glory during the days of His humanity on earth, His holiness and righteousness were manifest. Because of this, a crisis was provoked in society. No one could be neutral about this King and His kingdom. Today we return to our studies in Luke, and to a consideration of the ways in which Jesus announced His new creation.

The demons knew who Jesus was, and tried to shout to the people that He was the Son of God, but Jesus would not permit it. This introduces us to an important aspect of the gospels, which in New Testament scholarship is sometimes called the “Messianic secret.” There is a sense in which Jesus kept his Messiahship a secret, and only unveiled His identity gradually and in select company.

One of the reasons Jesus kept a low profile at first may have been because He needed to educate the people about the true nature of the Messiah. Many distorted views were circulating in Israel, such as that the Messiah would lead a Jewish army against Rome. Jesus wanted to correct these views before revealing Himself publicly. Another reason probably was to prevent a premature explosion over His presence, because when He did reveal Himself publicly, the people rushed to crucify Him. He needed to postpone the crisis until the stage was fully set.

We see yet another aspect of this in Luke 4:42–43, “At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. But he said, ‘I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’

Celebrities know that the price of fame means they cannot go anywhere without being swamped by people, and this would have interfered with Jesus’ work. Jesus prized a time of privacy with His Father. Do you prize such privacy? Are you reading God's word “on the run,” or have you managed to find a private time and place? It took Jesus some effort to secure times for private communion with God. It may take you some effort also.