Our Lord's Avoidance of Public Excitement
Matthew 8:4
And Jesus said to him, See you tell no man; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded…

See thou tell no man. There may have been some precise reason for this injunction in this particular case; but it is only one instance among many of our Lord's desire to work quietly, and keep free from the pressure of mere crowds, and the rush of popular excitement. To understand our Lord's objection to crowds, we must realize how excitable Eastern people are, and how entirely it is animal excitement, with very little intellectual or moral character. It therefore was an altogether hopeless seed-bed into which to cast seeds of truth. Dean Stanley describes the crowding of the people, in the Lebanon district, when the news spread abroad that there was a doctor in the company. "The stairs and corridors of the castle of the Maronite chief, Sheikh Joseph, were lined with a crowd of eager applicants." Travellers notice that, because so excited, Eastern crowds are rough and unmannerly, every one pressing to secure his own interest at once. We can see some reasons why Jesus avoided excitements.

I. HE DID NOT WISH TO MAKE MIRACLES HIS CHIEF WORK. But this they would soon have become if he had not put a check on them. Very soon he might have had every moment of his life filled up with doctoring work, and the Saviour of souls might have become a mere Eastern hakim. We cannot too constantly set before ourselves the truth that our Lord's miracles were not his life-work, but the illustration of his lifework. Illustration must always be kept in due place and proportion.

II. HE DID WISH TO DO HIS WORK IN MEN'S THOUGHTS. It cannot be too clearly seen that our Lord's mission was largely intellectual, and that the emotional had to be kept within strict limitation, because the emotional is sure to push out the intellectual. Christians brought in at revival-times seldom or ever show any interest in intelligent religion. The teaching of the day had put ritual, religious routine, in the place of personal thinking. It is not sufficiently considered that one first and most valuable result of Christ's teaching was this - it made men think for themselves. Now, crowds do not think. Intelligence is not characteristic of the crowds that now follow after revivalists.

III. HE DID WISH TO DO HIS WORK IN MEN'S CHARACTERS. And so he proposed to work as leaven works. He dealt with individuals. The adhesion of a number was of little interest to him. He admitted to the kingdom one by one, after a direct and personal dealing with each one. So the individual was of primary importance to Christ. To him character was power, and it would prove powerful, influential, a redemptive force. - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

WEB: Jesus said to him, "See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

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