Day 95: A Concealed Identity

Luke 9:18-22 :

It happened, as he was praying alone, that the disciples were with him, and he asked them, “Who do the multitudes say that I am?”

They answered, “‘John the Baptizer,’ but others say, ‘Elijah,’ and others, that one of the old prophets is risen again.”

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”

Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”

But he warned them, and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.”

I believe that this passage explains quite a bit about Jesus and why He didn’t just come out into the open and say: “I am the King, I am God, I am the Messiah.” In fact, the ones who kept saying things like this were the demons which He quickly told to be quiet. Notice, also, that when He raised the dead, He was careful to do it secretly.

To those of us who live now, this seems quite odd. Today, we are encouraged to preach the Gospel to the whole world and tell people about Jesus as fast as we can, but when Jesus was here, He didn’t act that way. The question that has often lurked in my mind is simply, “Why?”

Here, Jesus ties His concealment with the fact that He is going to be rejected and killed and then resurrect. It appears from this context that something about His coming death makes it very important that the truth about His identity not be advertised. In my lack of understanding, I used to think that Jesus was simply trying to make sure that the prophesies about Him worked out as His Father commanded. I do believe that Jesus was doing this too, but I cannot claim to understand all of God’s reasons, unless He says what they all are. Now, what I see is a deep love for Israel.

Jesus knew that He had to be rejected by the Jewish leadership as He very clearly states as a reason for keeping the “Messiah secret.” I think that Jesus expects us to understand that if these leaders fully understood that He was the Messiah, and they killed Jesus, they would go to hell without any further opportunity to be saved. It is similar to when a person fully understand Jesus and refuses to believe in Him as savior. By temporarily hiding His true identity, he preserved His enemies from certain destruction.

This explains why Judas was lost. He knew. It may also explains why the demons were quickly announcing His true identity, perhaps they were hoping to condemn the people to Hell using this technique. Perhaps they just knew it irritated Jesus. One thing we do know is what Jesus was able to say on the cross in the end.

Luke 23:34 :

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

The Jewish leaders and the Romans ignorantly killed the Messiah. It’s clear that Jesus laid down His own life for us because we were in serious trouble and He wanted to save us.