Jesus performed many miracles while on earth. We see that in some cases the healed person is told to keep the matter private (eg, Mark 1:44, Matt 9:30); but in other cases the person is told to report to the priests (Luke 17:13) or tell others (Mark 5:19). Why the difference?
Jesus was rather cautious about performing miracles, especially later in His ministry because it aroused much controversy that caused the authorities to turn against Him. For example:
- The raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45) galvanised the priests to rapidly advance their plans to have Jesus executed
- Healing the man born blind (John 9:1-41) had a similar effect
- Feeding the 5000 people (Mark 6:30-44) created such a public interest that they wanted to make Jesus king on the spot without recognising Him as a spiritual Messiah!
- The paralytic lowered through the roof (Mark 2:1-12) created much hatred among the priests so that wanted Jesus out of the way.
Thus, Jesus had to limit His publicity so that He could complete His ministry without too much interference from the people and authorities. Jesus' miracles has some both positive (on the righteous) and negative effects (on the unwilling authorities) on his reputation. See Mark 1:45. There were some important exceptions to this:
- In the case of the 10 lepers (Luke 17:11-19) Jesus told them to go and report to the priests because that was what the law required for such healings (Lev 14).
- In the case of the demoniac of Gadara, the area was distinct from Judea and publicity there would little affect Jesus' reputation at Jerusalem.