The Messianic Divine Secret of Jesus

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.03.37 PMEven a quick reading of the Gospel of Mark leads one to what scholars have called the “Messianic” Secret, those passages when Jesus tells others not to tell anyone about him or what they have seen Jesus do.  Standard explanation: for strategical reasons, namely to avoid a premature crucifixion or to precipitate the movement before its time, Jesus silences others until the right moment. Some would contend that moment is not until the crucifixion when the centurion confesses Jesus as the Son of God and no one silences him.

Do you think Jesus or the Gospels reveal that Jesus is divine? Do you think is a Gospel-layer overlay, an interpretation that goes beyond Jesus himself?

Brant Pitre turns this into a piece of logic from lesser to greater: if Jesus silenced confession of him as Messiah how much more would have silenced for strategical reasons any suggestions of his deity. I find the logic solid, if not compelling. Brant discusses this in his book The Case for Jesus.

Pitre appeals to three major Gospel passages to show that the deity of Christ is revealed in a Jewish manner, strategically not as direct as one might want.

1. When Jesus heals the paralytic and the scribes ask, “Who can forgive sins but (the one) God alone?” (Mark 2:1-12) He hears echoes of the Shema.

2. When Jesus asks “David himself calls him Lord; so how is he his son?” (How can David’s God be his Lord and his son?) (Mark 12:35-37, quoting from Psalm 110:1-4)

3. When Jesus says “No one but God alone is good” and “Why do you call me good?” (Mark 10:17-22) The entire episode intends to provoke the rich man’s response to Jesus as the one to follow above everything else.

Pitre concludes his chapter by citing early fathers who take each of these passages as revealing the deity of Christ.

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