Show not tell.
But Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him. —Mark 8:30
Build church membership! Get passersby through the sanctuary doors! Offer doughnuts, coffee, free pies, a men’s golfing trip called “Fore Jesus!”…anything…anything…just get ‘em to Jesus!
Whether near or currently not so near a pulpit, you have heard this: promote, promote, promote! Get Jesus’ name out there! Pound pavement! Wash cars! Have a pancake supper! Does your pastor have business cards?
So, it is odd that Jesus puts the kibosh on his own press release. Weird, right? Doesn’t He WANT us to talk about Him?
Here in Mark 8:30, He’s saying very clearly—very plainly—to keep His divinity under wraps. Why?
I did my homework on this (which is always fun) and theologians far and near, old and new have great insights as to why Jesus wants this silence. These well-established scholars hold validity; there are some solid arguments to consider; but I’m not sold, at least not completely.
Let me share my thinking. We have all heard someone say something about Jesus that just didn’t feel right. In listening to someone talk about the Son of God, something from someone was a little—or it was a lot—off. Standing near this person, you may have held your expression as neutrally as possible; you may have even done the whole slow nod-your-head-thing once or twice; but the voice in your noggin repeatedly said, “Don’t buy into this.”
Here’s what Jesus may mean in this unusual verse. Maybe we are not supposed to talk about Jesus as much as show Jesus. Maybe we are supposed to show Jesus in how we think and in what we do.
Our words do get botched sometimes. Most of us aren’t Billy Graham, Charles Spurgeon (who is one of my favs), or my hero, MLK, Jr.. Try as we might, maybe what we are saying about Jesus could be divisive or misconstrued. That’s possible, right? In some circles, this may even be probable.
So, rather than tell people about Jesus, as He warns His disciples here, maybe we can show Jesus to others. Actions do speak louder than words. Actions may also translate better than words.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help me do far less telling about who You are and far more showing who You are. Amen.
FYI: Since you have seen pictures of Billy Graham and MLK, Jr., the photograph accompanying this prep is of Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892). Spurgeon is known for powerful sermons and convicting quotes that have come from his preaching behind countless pulpits.
And then there is this quote which makes me smile. You decide if the following words are from Spurgeon are memorable. He says growing a beard is “a habit most natural, scriptural, manly and beneficial.”