What is meant by the idea of a 'messianic secret' in Mark's Gospel?

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The term "Messianic secret" refers to Jesus' apparent attempts in the ealy chapters of Mark's Gospel to keep his identity secret. For example, he regularly commands people and demons to say nothing about what has happened, or who he truly is (e.g. 1:25, 5:43 & 7:36). He also gives some...

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The term "Messianic secret" refers to Jesus' apparent attempts in the ealy chapters of Mark's Gospel to keep his identity secret. For example, he regularly commands people and demons to say nothing about what has happened, or who he truly is (e.g. 1:25, 5:43 & 7:36). He also gives some teaching privately to the disciples and tells them not to tell others about it (e.g. 7:17). Further, he appears to tell parables in order to prevent people outside the disciple group understanding him (4:10-12).

It is possible that Jesus did use parables to avoid being understood publicly to quickly. Parables allowed him to raise issues and topics that he was concerned about without saying things so blatantly that the crisis came too early for Jesus' understanding of the purposes of God through his life. Such stories and sayings also allowed people time to discover Jesus' identity themselves.

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