Why did Jesus tell his disciples

to tell no man that He was the Christ?

Matthew 16:20


Jesus gave instructions to not tell who he was on at least six occasions.

  1. The healing of Jairus’ daughter.
  2. The healing of the deaf man.
  3. When the leper was healed.
  4. The Mount of Transfiguration.
  5. When Christ stated he would organize his kind of church.
  6. Matthew 12:16 – After Jesus healed many in the multitude which followed him, he charged them that they should not make him known.  The reason for this charge is in verse 17-21. 


I.    The healing of Jairus’ daughter.

A.     The scriptures.

1.       Luke 8:49-56 – Jesus told her parents to tell no man what had happened, but they were astonished.  It would be very difficulty to keep something like this quiet, but that is exactly what Christ desired they do.

2.       Matthew 9:18-26 – When Jesus was going to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead, the woman with the issue of blood was healed when the touched the hem of Jesus’ garment.

a.       This is when the people thronged Jesus, but Christ only allowed three disciples to accompany him to the house of Jairus.

b.       Christ is attempting to keep this quiet, but it will not work because of the sinful curiosity of man.

3.       Mark 5:43 – When the girl was raised from the dead, Christ commanded that no man should know it.

B.     I think a part of Jesus’ instructions regards safety for his followers and those he heals.

1.       See Matthew 26:63-66.

a.       During the trial of Jesus Christ, the Pharisees and Scribes called many witnesses against Christ, but the witnesses got everything confused and their testimony contradicted each other.

b.       The people then began to question Christ, trying to find some evidence against him in his answers.

c.       When they brought him before Pilate, in Luke 23:1-4, they accused Christ of treason (falsely accusing Him of teaching against paying taxes), and that he was a king.

d.       When Pilate asked Christ if he was a king, he said, Thou sayest it whereupon Pilate turned to the people and said, I find no fault in this man.

2.       Now read Matthew 26:63-66, But Jesus held his peace.  And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.  Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.  What think ye?  They answered and said, He is guilty of death.

a.       Notice that Jesus did not say he was the Son of God.

b.       He said, thou hast said.  They heard what they wanted to hear and condemned Jesus to death.

3.       Now tie this in with Jesus’ instructions to tell no man what he was the Christ.

a.       If the disciples openly confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, the Pharisees would probably have killed them too, but that the scripture might be fulfilled, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none. (John 18:9)

b.       Jesus commanded His disciples to not confess that He was the Christ.

4.       Something else to consider is the explanation given in Luke 9:22, Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.  A premature discovery by the Pharisees of just who Jesus was would cause them to carry out their wicked aims against him ahead of time.

C.     John 6:26,27.

1.       I think another reason Christ did not want stories about him told is that he wants spiritual followers, not people seeking chills and thrills. 

2.       Christ performed many miracles to prove he was the son of God, but many people came just to see the miracles, or to partake in them for fleshly, temporal gain. 

3.       This thought leads us to the point II.


II.    The healing of the deaf man.

A.     Mark 7:31-37 – Jesus healed the deaf man, who had an impediment in his speech, telling the man to tell no man, but the more he charged them not to tell, the more they told.

1.       We might not understand the commands of Christ, but it is always best if we obey whatever he tells us, and never do what seems best in our eyes.

2.       We do not understand the mind of God, or what he wants, therefore it is imperative that we obey to the last letter of instructions, without questioning or reasoning among ourselves.

B.     It should be noted that “they” brought the deaf man to Christ, just as “they” brought a blind man to Christ, Mark 8:22.

1.       In both cases, Christ took the men away from “they” and healed the person.

2.       Christ then instructed “them”, Mark 7:36 to tell no man.

3.       Christ sent the blind man, Mark 8:26, away to his house, instructing him to not go into the town, or tell anybody he had been healed.

C.     It is difficult to judge motives, but it might be that “they” are no more than curiosity seekers, and not faithful followers of God at all. 


III.    The healing of the leper.

A.     The scriptures.

1.       Matthew 8:1-4 – The leper came to Christ, desiring to be healed.  Christ healed him, then told him to show himself to the priest, and offer the gift commanded by Moses.

2.       Mark 1:40-45 – The added description that the man went out and told everybody that Jesus had healed him, thus the ministry of Christ was hindered. 

3.       Luke 5:12-16 – So many people came to Christ to be healed and to hear that he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed.

B.     It is necessary for the proper order to be followed (proper authority).

1.       The proper authority at this time was not in the church, but in the Jewish nation.

2.       Christ would not undermine the institution to whom his father gave authority. 


IV.    The Mount of Transfiguration.

A.     The scriptures.

1.       Matthew 17:9 – When the disciples came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, Jess told them to not tell anybody what they had seen in the mountain until after his resurrection. 

2.       Mark 9:9 – When the disciples came down from the Mount of Transfiguration, Jesus told them to not tell anybody what they had seen in the mountain until after his resurrection.  Verse 10 reveals the disciples did not understand what the raising from the dead meant.

3.       Luke 9:36 – The disciples did not tell anybody what they saw in the Mount until after the resurrection of Christ.

B.     After the resurrection of Christ, Christ would transfer the oracles of God from the Jewish nation to his newly formed church.

1.       John 20:20-23 – Christ breathing on the early church, transferring from the Jewish nation to the church, the Holy Spirit of God.

2.       The manifestation of this transfer of power is revealed to everybody on the Day of Pentecost.


V.    When Christ stated he would build his kind of church.

A.     The scriptures.

1.       Matt. 16:20, Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus Christ.

2.       Mark 8:30, And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

3.       Luke 9:21, And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing;

B.     The reasons for not telling Jesus is the Christ.

1.       Protection of his disciples.

2.       Stop curiosity seekers.

3.       Proper authority should be followed. 


VI.    Matthew 12:16 – After Jesus healed many in the multitude which followed him, he charged them that they should not make him known.

A.     The reason for this charge is in verse 17-21. 

1.       Mark 3:12 also gives this charge, but nothing is said in this passage as to the reason. 

B.     The hearts of the Jewish nation was hardened that they might not hear. 

1.       God would now go to the Gentiles, giving them the word of life.  

2.       This was God’s eternal plan, and it was worked out according to the hardness of the hearts of the Jews. 


VII.    The command reversed. 

A.     Matthew 28:18-20 – Christ give the Great Commission to his church, instruction them to fill the world with the gospel message.

B.     Acts 1:8 – The early church is instructed to wait in Jerusalem until they receive power from on high, then they are to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and then to all the world.