Mere moments on Twitter are enough to alert us that our culture is plagued with demons. We live in a culture that responds to polarized politics and social values with contempt and hateful accusations that serve only to drive us further from one another, rather than seeking common ground. Even voices claiming to speak for our good God are raised in accusation and derision. Amongst so many voices and so much anger, through all the noise, how do we hear a God who whispers? Why doesn’t God speak more loudly, to be heard above the hate, or better still – to silence it forever?
There is divine precedent for keeping things hidden. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus repeatedly instructs his followers, those whom he heals, and even the demons he exorcizes to conceal his identity. Commentators call this motif the “Messianic Secret,” positing many theories about why Jesus wants to stay hidden. It may be to prevent people from following Jesus for the wrong reasons or to subvert existing Messianic expectations.
In the midst of a Gospel full of Jesus’s commands to keep quiet, there is one man whom Jesus commissions to preach. It isn’t Peter or another one of the Apostles. He isn’t even a Jew. The man Jesus enlists to tell his story is a foreigner known as the Gerasene demoniac….
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