But Jesus sent him (the demoniac) home, saying, “go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” (Luke 8:32-33
Her parents were overwhelmed, but Jesus insisted that they not tell anyone what had happened.Luke 8:56
What a fascinating element to these two contrastive stories. On the one hand the demon possessed man in Gergesa is told to go home to his family and tell everything. In the other story the parents of the twelve year old girl were told not to tell anyone. Why the differences? In each case we know from human nature that every one is going to blab everything to everyone. There will be no secrets here. “So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.” It is clear from both contexts that the story is going to be told abroad. So why does Jesus tell one person “don’t tell” and the other person “to tell”. And besides that, just stop and think for a moment of the situation surrounding the girl. Their house was filled with people, the girl was dead. Jesus comes and takes the parents and 3 disciples into the room where the girl is and commands everyone out. Something amazing happens in the room and suddenly the girl is alive again. Hordes of people are around and have “seen it”. Oh admittedly they have not actually seen what happened, but they have seen enough to blab it. But Jesus tells the parents “not to tell”. Is that naïve or what? Of course the story is going to be told, whether they know the facts or not.
On the other hand the demoniac’s story has been witnessed by the pig farmers, the townsfolk who came out to verify the pig farmers’ story and many have seen this once naked man who lived among the tombs now clothed and sane. The demoniac is allowed to tell his story; the parents of the girl aren’t. Why the differences?
Here is a list of the stories in the gospels where people were either told “to tell” or “not to tell”.
- Matt 8:4 / Mark 1:44 – a man with leprosy “Don’t tell anyone about this.
- Matt 9:30 – two blind men “Don’t tell anyone about this.”
- Mark 5:43 / Luke 8:56 – the 12 yr old girl – Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened
- Mark 7:32, 36 A deaf man with a speech impediment – Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone
- Luke 5:12, 14 a man with an advanced case of leprosy – Jesus instructed him not to tell anyone what had happened
- Mar 5:19 the demon-possessed man – Jesus said, “No, go home to your family, and tell them everything
- Luk 8:39 “No, go back to your family, and tell them everything God has done for you.” So he went all through the town proclaiming the great things Jesus had done for him.
Interesting too, as I noticed for the first time while doing this exercise, that while Matthew includes these stories in his Gospel (the demoniac and the girl), he doesn’t say anything about whether the recipient should tell or not tell. He makes no mention of that element in either story. Strange. Why? Save your questions for when we “gem” Matthew.
For the moment take time to look at all the evidence and see what you can make of it. After giving you time to do that I will attempt to pull it all together in the next gem.
I’m not in denial, I’m just very selective about the reality I accept.Anon
My mind is like a blotter: Soaks it up and gets it backwards.Anon
We cannot prevent the storms in our lives, but we can dance in the puddles.Anon
What happens if you get scared half to death twice?Anon
Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.Anon
I am not as good as I should be. I am not as good as I could be. But thank God I’m better than I used to be!Anon