JESUS, SUPERSECRET KING
So this guy named Peter finally figured out that Jesus was King. When he told Jesus his discovery though, the King commanded Pete to shut up about it. Wait a minute, what?
He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. (Mk 1:34b)
Wait, I thought Jesus was supposed to be the King of Israel, and that the Jews were dispersed because they rejected Him. Why did Jesus try to keep His kingship a secret? Many claim He remained anonymous only because He had a hard time dealing with big crowds. As if the One who walked on water, calmed the storm, healed diseases, and defeated Satan couldn't figure out how to manage more than a few people. He could turn five loaves and two fish into an overflowing buffet for thousands, but the God-man couldn't handle a crowd? The Book says Jesus had a better reason than crowd-control for keeping His kingship secret. In the following verses, note that the word "Christ" meant "King" to the Israelites:
Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ." And He warned them to tell no one about Him. And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mk 8:29b-31)
Maybe it's only a coincidence Mark included the King's rejection right after Jesus shushed Pete. Let's see what reason Matthew recorded for the shushing:
Then He warned the disciples that they should tell no one that He was the Christ. From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. (Mt 16:20-21)
Peter answered and said, "The Christ of God." But He warned them and instructed them not to tell this to anyone, saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised up on the third day." (Lk 9:20b-22)
A secretive Jesus causes us a problem. We would like to believe Israel had every opportunity to accept Jesus and begin a glorious kingdom, whether physical, spiritual, or any other kind. We want to believe Jesus did everything He could to garner Israel's acceptance. We find historically instead that Jesus kept His kingship a secret. He preached the kingdom everywhere, correcting their misunderstanding of the kingdom, but never their misunderstanding of the Messiah King. Constantly on His lips were the words, "The Kingdom of God is like..." but He never preached, "The Christ of God is like..." He labored at correcting their understanding of the kingdom and their ability to identify the kingdom correctly (John 3:1-8; Mt 12:28; Lk 17:20-21). Yet the gospels show no similar effort by Jesus at correcting the Israelite view of the Messiah King.*
The Jesus of the Bible, as opposed to the Jesus of our theories, is a secretive King. Only three times before death did Jesus explicitly claim kingship. First, to a foreigner in John 4:25-26, second under the oath-bound demand of Israel's high priest, and last to another foreigner in John 18:37. Jesus never willingly revealed Himself as King to the Israelites.
THE REASON WHY
Matthew, Mark and Luke recorded that when Peter called Jesus the King, He silenced him, saying He had to be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes. In every account, Jesus used the word "must." He did not merely foretell His rejection; He revealed that He must be rejected by Israel's leadership. God had mandated the rejection of the King, saying "The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected."
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