keep this miracle a secret

Ever wonder why Jesus told people to keep his miracles a secret? Seems like a strange thing to do and usually no explanation is given. But there is one instance in Matt. 12 where we are told why Jesus did things this way: 

But Jesus knew what they were planning. So he left that area, and many people followed him. He healed all the sick among them, but he warned them not to reveal who he was. This fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah concerning him: (Matthew 12:15-17 NLT)

 Jesus ministered like this because it was in keeping with what Isaiah prophesied about him. In the Isaiah passage (which Matthew also quotes), we see that this approach pleases the Father and has certain qualities:

Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations. He will not shout or raise his voice in publicHe will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged. He will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth. Even distant lands beyond the sea will wait for his instruction. (Isaiah 42:1-4 NLT)

Ministry that is dependent on the Holy Spirit does not draw attention to itself, is completely gentle, and yet so strong it never gives up. This is what pleases God. This is what Jesus did. This is what Jesus calls his followers to do (and how to do it).

Why Jesus’ Burden is Light

One of the most popular, most comforting things Jesus ever said was:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matt. 11.28-30)

Another thing Jesus said that is decidedly less popular (especially in modern Western cultures) was:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6.19-21)

And it’s rare for pastors to teach on this basic instruction Jesus gave to all those he sent out to do kingdom work:

“Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.” (Mark 6.8-9)

It occurred to me this morning (in one of those Aha!/Doh! moments) that the comfort of the light burden and not taking any luggage on the journey go together. The yoke of Jesus is easy, the burden is light, because he tells us to leave all our stuff behind.