Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him.
Matthew 12 : 15 – 16
We have seen this several times now: Jesus heals people but then asked them not to spread the word about him. It can be confusing to read as so much of Christianity is focused of sharing the Good News with others. Why wouldn’t Jesus want to promote his message further?
Well here it seems to be most practical. There was a plot top kill Jesus and so, for the time being, he needed to evade the authorities. He would face them down but not yet.
But there are other reasons too. Jesus seems to have been aware that his reputation as a healer was growing, but he seems to have wanted to limit that. Healing was an important part of Jesus’s ministry but he didn’t come to bring healthcare to 1st Century Palestine, he had a much more important mission. So it seems he wanted to make sure that if he was known it wasn’t just as that guy who heals, but as someone with a message that will save Israel.
As Christians and a Church it’s helpful to have a good reputation. It’s good if people think we are caring and know about the Church’s social programs. But ultimately we want to be known for more than that. We want people to know our actions came from our faith and at the heart of what we do is following Jesus. That’s the reputation we want to have in the world.
Prayer: Lord, help me to learn from Jesus the power of words and wisdom of discretion. May my words and actions point beyond myself and towards you and the impact you’ve had on my life.
Action: When someone asks about the things you do don’t be afraid to tell them how your faith motivates your actions.