5 Thoughts on Matthew 16:21-28 and the Messianic Secret
1. It’s not a secret if it’s an observable fact. Jesus tells his disciples to tell no one that he is not the Messiah; yet Jesus continues to do messiah like things. There is no messianic secret when the reality is an observable fact.
2. Sternly warning the disciples to tell no one that Jesus is the Messiah is like James Bond warning a call-girl not to tell her bad guy employer she just hooked up with James Bond of Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Jesus knows there are going to be some leaks. He needs there to be some leaks in order to test how many friends (or enemies) he may have in high places. In other words, as word trickles out to the bad guys, does he have in friends on the inside? As we’ll see, he does.
3. We need to become more comfortable with mystery. If Jesus has things he wants to hold back, that’s obviously Jesus’ business. Sure, we’d like to know. But we need to realize, there are some things about Jesus that we will never understand.
4. People like feeling like they are in the know. Especially when it comes to being the custodians and keepers of knowledge. People feel important when you give them a secret to keep. Jesus wants us to feel included and part of the team. Even if the secret is not really a secret, just an observable fact.
5. If Jesus tells you his secret and the plan relating to his secret. Just go with it. He’s probably put a great deal of thought into this plan. Our knee-jerk reactions don’t really help matters. Jesus is looking for forward thinking people who will be willing to accompany him through suffering and death. Not those who want to second guess everything and talk stuff to death. He’s interested in people who want to live until they die; not talk utter nonsense to the point of the death. There is a difference.