Why did Jesus tell those he healed to remain quiet? By Jack Kettler
In the following passages, Jesus told whom He healed to remain quiet. Why did he do this?
“And Jesus saith unto him, see thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” (Matthew 8:4)
“And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, see that no man know it.” (Matthew 9:30)
“And saith unto him, see thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.” (Mark 1:44)
This command to the healed individual was not absolute. Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. That is why Jesus instructed the healed individual to go to the priest. Commentator Albert Barnes in the following entry explains this.
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains why the healed person must go to the priest first:
“See thou tell no man – This command is to be understood as extending only to the time until he had made the proper representation to the priest. It was his duty to hasten to him immediately Leviticus 14:2; not to delay by talking about it, but, as the first thing, to obey the laws of God, and make proper acknowledgments to him by an offering. The place where this cure was performed was in Galilee, a distance of 40 or 50 miles from Jerusalem; and it was his duty to make haste to the residence of the priest, and obtain his sanction to the reality of the cure. Perhaps, also, Christ was apprehensive that the report would go “before” the man if he delayed, and the priest, through opposition to Jesus, might pronounce it an imposition.
And offer the gift that Moses commanded – That Moses directed to be offered by a leper when he was cured. That gift consisted of “two birds alive and clean, cedar-wood, scarlet, and hyssop,” Leviticus 14:4.
For a testimony unto them – Not to the priest, but to the people. Show thyself to the priest, and get his testimony to the reality of the cure, as a proof to the people that the healing is genuine. It was necessary that he should have that testimony before he could be received to the congregation or allowed to mingle with the people. Having this, he would be, of course, restored to the privileges of social and religious life, and the proof of the miracle, to the people, would be put beyond a doubt.” (1)
This is the passage in Leviticus that Barnes references:
“This is the law of the one afflicted with a skin disease on the day of his cleansing, when he is brought to the priest.” (Leviticus 14:2)
The entry from the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges adds additional detail from Mark 1:44 about going to the priest: “44. shew thyself to the priest that he may attest the reality of thy cure (Leviticus 14:3).
those things which Moses commanded] viz. (1) two birds, “alive and clean,” Leviticus 14:4, (2) cedar wood, (3) scarlet, and (4) hyssop; this was for the preliminary ceremony (Leviticus 14:4-7). On the eighth day further offerings were to be made, (1) two he lambs without blemish, (2) one ewe lamb, (3) three tenth deals of fine flour, (4) one log of oil. If the leper was poor, he was permitted to offer one lamb and two turtledoves or two young pigeons, with one tenth deal of fine flour.
For a testimony unto them. Rather, for a testimony against them, i. e. against their unbelief in refusing to acknowledge our Lord to be all He claimed to be in spite of His mighty works. Comp. Mark 6:11 with Luke 9:5.” (2)
The remaining quiet on the part on the part of the one healed was only until the requirements of the law were fulfilled by meeting with Levitical priest. The priest would then make the public declaration of the healing after the requited sacrifice.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)
1. Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Matthew, Vol. 1 p. 135.
2. G. F. MACLEAR, D.D., Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Mark, (Cambridge University Press, 1898), p. 38. Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of numerous books defending the faith.