Why did Jesus tell some people to keep quiet about his miracles?
Mark 5:1-20 recounts the story of Jesus healing the demon-possessed man. This healing, unlike Jesus’ previous healings (see Mark 1:34; 1:44; 3:12) took place on the eastern side of Lake Galilee. This was a territory largely inhabited by Gentiles, as is indicated by the presence of a large herd of pigs (Mark 5:11-14)— animals Jews considered ceremoniously unclean and therefore unfit to eat.
After Jesus gave the demons permission to leave the man and go into the pigs, the pigs rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned. When the people learned what had happened to the pigs and that the demon-possessed man was now in his right mind, they were afraid and pleaded with Jesus to leave their region. Certainly no people needed the kingdom message more than these people who were begging Jesus to leave.
Jesus had greatly blessed the demon-possessed man and so gave him the hardest task of all—to go home and tell his family how much the Lord had done for him. The man not only told his family, but also those inhabiting the ten cities in the area.
However, when Jesus raised the dead girl (Mark 5:35-43) he gave strict orders not to let anyone know of the miracle (verse 43). Why did he want to hide this miracle as well as the other miracles cited above from the Jewish populace?
We believe that as Jesus was becoming ever more popular with the Jews in the vicinity of Galilee, envy and opposition from their religious leaders (the Scribes and Pharisees) was growing. Therefore, Jesus did not want to draw any more attention to himself than was needed. He did not want the Jews to proclaim him king since such a proclamation could have precipitated a crisis before Jesus’ ministry was completed. The time had not yet come for him to die. He had other work to do and that work needed to be done on a specific timeline and in a specific way.
Why did Jesus not want the news of his miracles to circulate in the vicinity of Galilee where the Jewish population was great? We believe that Jesus did not want a crisis to occur between him and the Jewish leaders before the appointed time.
To learn more about the healing of the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter listen to, “Who Successfully Challenged Jesus?”