Hidden Works

Jesus healed countless people, who were eager to let others know what He had done. Most in His position would love the publicity, but He avoided it. We want our good deeds to be widely known, but He did not. Why? For several decades, scholars have called this the “Messianic secret.” With varying interpretations, they have generally agreed that Jesus desired to keep His identity as Messiah a secret, lest the crowds misunderstand His real goal. They expected a savior to deliver them from the hated Romans, but He came to save them from their sins (1:21). While there may be some truth in this, it can’t be all that is going on here. After all, Jesus’ mighty works were done in public. There was no way to hide His miraculous cures. Word of His wondrous works spread like wildfire, attracting huge throngs. There was no “secret” about His supernatural powers. Could it be that Jesus was practicing what He preached in the Sermon on the Mount? “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them… But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know was your right hand is doing” (Matthew 6:1, 3). Of course, Jesus’ works of mercy, done in the open, could not be hidden. But His essential humility, expressed in His Incarnation, life of service, and sacrificial death (Philippians 2:5-8), would explain also why He did not crave fame. He knew who He was. He did not need to gain favor with God or with man. He sought only to glorify the Father by His truthful speech and life of humble service. And He calls us to follow in His steps.