February 12, 2021
Mark 1:43-45 (NIV)
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.
What is in the mind of Jesus that would cause him to strongly warn the cleansed and healed leper with these words?
“See that you don’t tell this to anyone.”
It seems like word of this spreading would help Jesus in his mission. That is how my mind thinks. Fame works. Do something great or wowing or somehow significant and you become famous and your fame can be used as a platform for just about anything you want.
It’s why people want to be famous. They want to be known for what they have and can do. Which is another way of saying they don’t really want to be known. What they want is to be admired, right?
I’ve known a few famous persons, and truth be told, they tend to be among the most lonely and isolated people on the planet. They are profoundly admired yet hardly known. The crazy thing about fame is the way it extends to those who get close to it. Don’t you think this leper became a bit famous himself? This news was destined to spread. And look what happened to Jesus as a result.
As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.
Once a person becomes famous the only real friends they have are the ones they made before they became famous. They can never really know if they are loved just for who they are and not for what they have done, do or can do for you. Famous people are long on fans, but they tend to be short on friends. It’s why superheroes have alter-ego hidden identities.
Why didn’t Jesus want to be famous? I think he was looking for friends, not fans. It’s why fame is a non-value in the Kingdom of God. It’s why the whole concept of a Christian celebrity is the ultimate oxymoron.
When we love someone for what they have done and what they can do for us, we are, by definition, a fan. It’s not wrong to be a fan. It’s just a totally different thing than a friend. When we love someone for the wonder and beauty of who they are, regardless of what they can do for us, we are, by definition, a friend.
So where do you stand with Jesus? I think we mostly all begin as fans. The question is are we growing into friends. We start off loving him for what he has and can do for us. The question is are we growing to love him for the sheer wonder and beauty of who he is.
In other words, if he did something spectacular for you and asked you to keep it a secret, would you do it?
Almighty God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—my Lord Jesus Christ, I want to be your friend. What a friend I have in you. Would that you would one day say concerning me, “What a friend I have in you.” That will be the day. I pray in your name, Jesus, Amen.
So what about you? Would you rather be known or admired? Would you rather have a million fans or a few true friends? Could you keep Jesus’ secret?
For the Awakening,
Early Joe is faring pretty well through Covid-19. He says thanks for the prayers. And a bonus—I’m working on getting the recipes for Mom’s Chicken Spaghetti and Cream Cheese Pound Cake!