It is one thing for a child to hear his parent say, "Don't....".  However, the statement becomes a tad (sarcasm inserted) more serious when you read out loud Jesus' words and realize the Son of God said, "Don't..." too.  Not that children should disobey their parents.  I am not saying that at all.  But just as all of us were once children and heard our earthly parent(s) tell us "Don't", so Jesus heard Father God instruct Him to tell those around Him and all of us down through the ages (via the Scripture) -  "Don't...".

As I studied this subject I noticed two areas that Jesus said "Don't" under - (1) Inquisitive and (2) Instructional. 

In the first area, inquisitive, Jesus asked a lot of questions inquiring about different thought processes.
  • In Matthew 15:17 Jesus questions their reasoning by saying, "Don't you see whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?"
  • In Matthew 16:9 Jesus attacks the Disciples memory - "Don't you remember the five loaves for the five thousand,...?"
  • In Matthew 16:11 Jesus challenged their discernment when He said, "How is it you don't understand that I was not talking to you about bread?"
  • In Mark 4:13 there are three parts that the reader needs to pay attention to - the first sentence, what is unwritten between the first and second sentence, and then the second sentence.  Here is the whole verse - "Then Jesus said to them, 'Don't you understand this parable?  How then will you understand any parable?"  The first section supplies the "don't".  This questions the Disciples reasoning power again with the parable Jesus just told them.  Now observing Jesus' second question, which is linked to the first - the unwritten must have been the Disciples shaking their head "No" to the question of - "Don't you understand this parable?".  Because Jesus' quick reply is "How then will you understand any parable?"
  • In Luke 12:56 Jesus asks a question that says, of all the knowledge you claim to have of the Scriptures and everything else (paraphrased), "How is it you don't know how to interpret this present time?" 
  • The book of John reports on belief.  
          -John 8:46 says, "Why don't you believe me?"
          -John 14:9 states, "Don't you know me, Philip...?
          -John 14:10 voices, "Don't you believe that I am in the Father...?"

Under the second area, instructional, Jesus gave instructions (hard one to grasp, I know).  He said several times the phrases "don't be afraid" and "don't tell anyone"

The phrase "don't be afraid" was referenced in Matthew 10:31 (Luke 12:7), Matthew 14:27 (Mark 6:50; John 6:20), Matthew 17:7; Mark 5:36; and Luke 5:10.  Guess what that phrase meant and was meant to convey every time He said it (sarcasm inserted again).  I like the slogan - "If Jesus said it, I believe it, and that settles it."  So, if He said, "don't be afraid", then I'm not going to be afraid. 

In Matthew 8:4 (Mark 1:44; Luke 5:12-16) Jesus is speaking to the man He just healed of leprosy when we see the phrase "don't tell anyone" -

"Then Jesus said to him, 'See that you don't tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."

It is interesting that of the three recorded accounts Mark 1:44 records the healed man "went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news" after Jesus had given him explicit instructions not to do that very thing.  Scripture continues to say,

 "As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places.  Yet the people still came to him from everywhere." (v.45) 

In this case the benefit before the man blabbered probably would have been for the man himself and the priests he was to show himself to.  Instead he yapped about it everywhere and Jesus paid for it.  It seems Jesus knew this man would be inclined to share this event with the masses, so Jesus strongly encouraged him - "See that you don't tell this to anyone."  But why not?  What is it about this healing compared to others that Jesus does not want publicized?  Another case of disobedience it would seem and as a result Jesus' inner-city ministry was altered and the priest was not blessed.  

In another instance (Matthew 9:29-30), Jesus healed two blind men.  He then proceeded to tell them not to tell anyone.  But Scripture indicates a heavier, more serious tone in this instruction.  "Jesus warned them sternly, 'See that no one knows about this."  The words "warned them sternly" are what jump out at me.  So, once again, why does Jesus restrict certain people from advertising His healing intervention?  In addition, what do the men do?  "But they went out and spread the news about him all over that region." (verse 31)  In this case the Bible does not record any consequences for Jesus or for the disobedient men.

Ah!  Something a little different.  Matthew 16:20 says, "Then He warned His Disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ."  There is NO verse after this telling us that the Disciples went out spreading this news that Jesus was the Christ.  On the contrary, there are several verses of Jesus describing to His Disciples what must happen to the Son of Man, but they heard His words as some kind of code and did not understand until after the resurrection (see an earlier blog I wrote on this subject).  In addition, unless Jesus was speaking to someone who could understand His terminology about who He was then people were clueless. 

Jesus claimed to be "the Bread of Life from Heaven (John 6:35-40, 51), "Light of the World" (John 8:12), "from Above" (John 8:23), "from God" (John 8:42), "I am the gate" (John 10:9), "I am the Resurrection and the Life" (John 11:25), "I am the vine" (John 15:5).  However, as just stated, unless you knew what these designations meant you were lost.  Sure Jesus spoke of Himself in 3rd person by calling Himself Son of Man about thirty times in Matthew (according to crosswalk.com), but that does not count in my book.  Jesus answered questions about His identity from others like Caiaphas (Matthew 26:63-64) and Pilate (Matthew 27:11), had testimonies about Him from people like John the Baptist (Matthew 3:11; John 1:27), Peter (Matthew 16:16), and Father God (Matthew 17:5), but still did not meet my specs for the candid avenue.  I am looking for a more direct approach - "I am the Christ".  I found this directness in only two places - John 4:26 and John 13:19.

With the first reference, let's back up and catch verse 25 - "The woman said, 'I know that Messiah (called Christ) is coming.  When he comes, he will explain everything to us.'  Then Jesus declared, 'I who speak to you am he.'"  You can not get any more blunt than that!

The second instance was during the Last Supper.  There are many Scriptures that foretold the first visit of Christ.  One of those prophetic verses that would identify Jesus as the Christ concerned His betrayer and betrayal.  Again, let us begin in the previous verse (v.18) and go from there.  "I am not referring to all of you;  I know those I have chosen.  But this is to fulfill the scripture:  'He who shares my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'  I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am He."  In my Bible, "He" is capitalized.  That to me signifies importance and particular importance to His Jewish audience.  "He" means Messiah or Christ.  The One they had been looking for came with this sign and many others.  They just would not fully realize it until after the resurrection.

So, my question that I have at this point is - why does Jesus not want the Disciples to tell people He is the Christ when He has already told a woman and that information is sure to spread?  Maybe this telling business is a case of Holy Reverse Psychology from the Lord.  Maybe it is a case of - I will not know until I'm raptured home.        

Two interesting cases round out the study on - When Jesus Said "Don't...".  The first occasion is found in Mark 8:26.  After Jesus came to the town or village of Bethsaida, He took a blind man that people had brought Him in town and walked Him out of town.  There, outside of the village, after the blind man was healed - "Then Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village."  After hearing Jesus say this I immediately get the sense of being in a scary movie and everybody in the theater knows for the character NOT to open that door.  You might even verbally say in the theater - "Don't do it!  Don't open that door!"  And of course, they open that door.  Now, whether or not the blind man journeyed back to that village we don't know.  However, for an undisclosed reason (and we could speculate 'till the cows come home), Jesus instructed him "Don't go into the village."  You know what I would do after being healed?  I would not got back into that village.

I love verses that begin like "He was moved with compassion" or the like.  In Luke 7:13 it states, "When the Lord saw her [mother of a dead husband and just dead son], His heart went out to her and he said, 'Don't cry.'"  OH, HALLELUJAH!  When the LORD says, "Don't cry."  Because "I just feel like something good is about to happen, I just feel like something good is on it's way..."  Come on sing with me ya'll!!!  Because, "Then he [Jesus] went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still.  He said, 'Young man, I say to you, get up!'  The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother." (verses 14-15)  Thank you for your heart Jesus!

We must have "Don'ts" just as much as we must have "Do's".  God is awesome in balance.  He has good "Don'ts" for us as Luke 7:13 points out.  He has "Don'ts" that are meant to challenge our thinking process.  And He has "Don'ts" that are instructional in nature.  The wonderful thing about good parents is that when they say "Don't", they mean - "I've been there, done that, did not work and I want to save you the trouble." - all in that little word.  The great thing about Father God saying "Don't" is that it comes from a heart of Love.  Whatever the consequence(s) of us getting involved in something we should not - that is a situation that God tries to keep us from experiencing by supplying us with a warning - "Don't....".