CHRIST THE TEACHER INSTITUTE FOR EDUCATIONTANGAZA UNIVERSITY COLLEGECOURSE TITLE: GOPSELSCOURSE CODE: CTH 215TERM PAPER: THE MESSIANIC SECRET MOTIFLECTURER: SR. ARINGOMATRICULATION NUMBER: C018007TABLE OF CONTENTINTRODUCTIONThe Messianic Secret is a theme of biblical criticism developed in 1901 by a German Lutheran theologian named Wilhelm Wrede. The Messianic Secret involves Wrede’s explanation for Jesus wanting to hide His identity from His enemies by commanding the disciples to keep silent about His mission on earth and the miracles He performed. Wrede claimed that Jesus did not ever think He was the Messiah and that Mark (and the rest of the New Testament authors) sensationalized Jesus and made Him into the Messiah.
Wrede claims Mark added the Messianic Secret in an attempt to give a reason for why Jesus was not accepted by many as Messiah until after His death. Therefore, having understood the meaning of the messianic secret, this paper will highlight the Instances of the Secrecy Motif, explain why the messianic secret, any messianic secrets in the other gospels and importance of the messianic secret hence come to the conclusions.
Instances of the Secrecy Motif The following are some of the messianic secret that are found in the gospel of Mark. This messianic secret motif first appears in Mark 1:24. A man with an unclean spirit identifies Jesus as the Holy One of God. Jesus rebukes the spirit and orders silence. Later in Mark 1:34, the author finishes a summary statement with, and he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him. The theme continues in Mark 3:11-12. Unclean spirits fall down before Jesus and confess that he is the Son of God. At this, Jesus strictly ordered them to not make him known. The demons were not confused; however, Jesus would not allow those demons to reveal his true identity and purpose. The secret motif is also associated with miraculous healing. In Mark 1:40-45 Jesus heals a leper. After healing him, Jesus charges him to not speak openly about it and quietly present himself in the temple. Later in Mark 7:31-37, Jesus heals a deaf man and charges him to speak to no one. In Mark 8:22-26, Jesus tells the blind man he heals to not go back into the village. Jesus never seems keen to have his healing abilities broadcast widely. Finally, the secret motif is also associated with Jesus being a heavenly being. In Mark 8:27-30, Peter makes an extremely important confession. You are the Christ. This is the central claim of the Gospel of Mark and Christianity as a whole. However, Jesus tells his disciples to keep this a secret. In Mark 9:2-9 Jesus is transfigured before Peter, James, and John. He is clearly revealed as a heavenly being conversing with Moses and Elijah. Coming down from this literal mountaintop experience, Jesus yet again orders them to remain silent. From the above chapters and verses we realize that Jesus never wanted to be recognized by the people He was preaching to, of course he had reasons for hiding his identity. But we also see that the more He asked them to be silent the more they talked and proclaimed all that He did to them to an extent of Jesus wanting to hide from the crowd. In the following part we will look at some of the reasons that made Jesus to hide His identity.Reasons for the messianic secretJesus realized that the crowd was becoming too big and unmanageable and so He could not be able to preach but only heal since his orders of keeping silence by the people He performed miracles did not respect them but went on publicizing what had been done to them. But this seems to be just a normal thought of unmanageable crowd because when we read Mark 6:34-44, we see Jesus feeding 5000 people and in fact men without counting women and children and also in Mark 8:1-10, Jesus fed 4000 people so the issue of the size of the crowd is not a big reason for Jesus hiding His identity. Jesus also didn’t want to draw the attention of the foreign powers to Himself too quickly because he knew if the Roman authorities had become aware of His claim to be a king, they would have stopped his movement from the beginning, as they did other messianic movements in the first century. In order to avoid a premature death, he ordered those he healed to keep his identity a secret so that he can accomplish what the father had sent him. Jesus needed time to redefine the common notion of the Messiah. In the first-century Judaism, many thought the messianic king would be a political, militaristic king who would deliver them from Roman occupation and oppression. Such a view would not have happened with a Messiah who was crucified by the very enemy that the Jews hoped the Messiah would deliver them from. Jesus, therefore, had to spend some time bringing into shape the idea of the Messiah in order that His suffering and death would not be too high a hurdle for believers to overcome. This is clearly stated towards the end of the gospel of Mark that is Mark15:39 when the centurion say, truly this was the son of God.The messianic secret in the other Gospels The Gospel of MatthewIn the gospel of Matthew there are few chapters that talk about Jesus hiding His identity and they are as follows:Matthew 9:27-31, we see Jesus after healing the two blind men he warns the sternly saying, see that no one knows about this, but they went out and spread the word of him through all the land.Matthew 16:13-20, in this chapter Jesus wants to know who people say he is but the response of Peter surpasses all answers for he says, you are the messiah the son of the living god after Jesus blessing Peter he strictly orders them to tell no one that He was the messiah in verse 20.Matthew 17:1-13, under this chapter we read about the transfiguration of Jesus. In verse 9 it says, as they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus charged them. Do not tell the vision to anyone until the son of man has been raised from the dead.Matthew also gives some messianic secret as observed in the chapters and verses stated above. It still shows that Jesus never wanted to be recognized by people simply because His time had not yet come.The Gospel of LukeThe following are the chapters and verses that show the messianic secret in the gospel of Luke: