13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”
14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah. Matthew 16:13-20
As any good lawyer would tell you, you need to know the answer to the question before you ask it. Jesus knew what everyone was saying about him but He gave His disciples the opportunity to inform him before He asked them point blank who they thought He was.
This was a curious question, given that they had already sold many of their possessions to follow Him. He also knew how they would answer.
After commissioning Peter with some very heavy duty responsibilities, he asked them not to reveal to others who He was.
Perhaps He was protecting them because He knew the backlash that would come as a result of them telling others this incredible truth.
Remember, the long-awaited Messiah would only come once. Ever. And He hadn’t come prior to this.
So, if His disciples spread this juicy secret around, they themselves just might be humiliated (or worse) for suggesting such a thing.
Others – especially the religious leaders – would have a hard time believing it until the time was right. Again, everyone had a different thought about who the Messiah was, what He would look like, and the things He would do while He was here. Was He an ordinary man or something else?
The fact that He was now among them – among THEM – was even more extraordinary.
Millions of Jews had been waiting for this time and He was there.
Why them? Why now?
He entrusted them with this secret, for now.
Others would find out or figure it out eventually.
In fact, He would want the whole world to know eventually.
How are you at keeping secrets?
Can you do it?
Do you even tell one person when given exclusive information?
There may even be times that you keep in confidence what God tells you because it only applies to you. How good are you at keeping those secrets?