I react to any suggestion that Jesus Christ was “limited.”  “Humble” and “quiet” I can live with, but I bristle at “limited.” However, think about limitation, humility and quietness as we survey the Gospel of Mark. Seeking to discover this quality and attitude in our Lord, we are looking for (1) situations in which the God-Man, Jesus Christ, allowed Himself to be limited by the people He created and (2) examples of His humility and quietness. 

The get the full benefit of this article it will be helpful to read the Scripture involved.  

1:23-25;  32-34  Jesus cast a demon out of a man and forbade the evil spirit to endorse Him. Verse 27 adds that the evil spirit obeyed Him. He forced evil spirits, but not people. 

Christ Jesus did not write a prayer letter or call a press conference after this spectacular feat. No interviews. No talk shows. The Galilean Herald was not going to be publishing this headline-worthy event.  

1:40-45   Compassionately serving a leper in need, our Lord directed his grateful response. The healed man was to go to the local priest and offer what the Law prescribed as a testimony to them. At this beginning point in His public life, the Lord Jesus apparently wanted to win a non-emotional, according-to-Scripture hearing from the priests, so He directed the healed leper to follow the procedure set forth by Moses. By urging this man to keep the Law, our Lord limited His own exposure and the acclaim that could have come to him. That’s humility. 

When the healed leper disobeyed by spreading his good news far and wide, Jesus (1) did not make the desired progress in His relationship with the priestly establishment in that area, and (2) was exiled to the desert countryside. It’s amazing that the Living God subjected Himself to the limitations placed upon Him by this man’s failure to obey. 

Sometimes non-Christians have the idea that God will do spectacular things to get their attention and convert them. Feeling that he knew best and wanting to honor his Healer, the leper did something spectacular–he blazed abroad what had happened to him.  Jesus had directed something modest and quiet, “Offer the sacrifice commanded by Scripture,” which was akin to saying, “Do what the Bible says.” 

God may bring salvation truth to a non-Christian through a friend or family member or even through a child. Many have come to faith in Christ by reading the Bible. No face of Jesus in the clouds, no near-death experience, no flamboyant display, no supernatural fireworks. Just read the Bible to find and embrace the Creator of the universe. 

3:5  “… for the hardness of their hearts…” Jesus was angry. The text implies He would have healed more people had the people not been so stubborn and hostile toward Him. It limited Him.

3:12  Again, Christ our Lord wanted no endorsement from evil spirits. He avoided fame. He refused to focus attention on Himself. Miracles were not His normal way of serving. The ordinary was more frequent in His work than the spectacular (which is why Baptists generally do not attempt to do miracles today, but some Charismatics seem disproportionate in their attention to miracles.) As in His life, so in ours.  Many outstanding men in the Bible never had a miracle attributed to them (e.g., Samuel, John the Baptist, David, and Job.)  

5:1-15  What did Christ Jesus get for freeing a man from demonic influence?  When the townspeople came out to see the man seated, and “clothed in his right mind,” they asked Him to leave!  Jesus did not force Himself on the community, but rather allowed Himself to be limited by what He created. What humility. In accordance with their wish, He left the area. Nor did He allow the healed man to accompany Him. Instead, He told the man to go back to those who knew him best and share with his family about God’s goodness to him.

5:35  A heartless person told the heavy-hearted father, “Don’t bother the Master any more, because your daughter is dead [‘so leave Jesus alone so He can help me’” is implied].  The Creator did not respond to the messenger. Ignoring the selfishness of the messenger and the assumption that He was incapable of helping, Jesus reassured the father.

5:40  The Master humbly ignored those who laughed at Him. He did not leap their mental barriers nor put on a show to overcome their disinterest. 

5:43  Jesus charged the parents that they tell no one about raising their daughter back to life. Maybe He did not want the truth of the Gospel to get lost amidst the fascination, clamor and excitement of the miracle. The truth of redemption has liberated so many more than miracles ever have, so He down-played the miracle. Maybe that is why we see in the Gospels The Quiet Jesus. 

6:1-6   In His hometown, some were immediately impressed, but others said, “We know Him and His family. He is not so important.” Some were offended by Him. He replied, “Prophets are honored except in their hometowns and among their own people.” Verse five says He could not do any miracles there, except heal a few sick people. 

6:14-29  When John the Baptist was in prison, the Lord Jesus Christ did not lead a vigilante committee to break him out of jail. Though our Lord had spoken highly of John (Matthew 11:11), still the Redeemer allowed him to die at the hands of a wicked man (Matthew 14:1-13). 

6:46, 47  The quiet Jesus sent the disciples off and He went to pray alone. 

7:24, 36  He did not want people to know where He was, and He commanded others “not to tell anyone.” 

8:26  After healing a blind man, what did He tell him to do?  Share on the radio about his experience? Call a press conference? Write a book?  No. He sent him home, and added, “Don’t go into the village.” 

9:9   Following His transformation, Jesus told Peter, James, and John to remain silent about it until after He had risen from the dead. 

 9:32   Though Jesus told His disciples plainly that He was going to be killed, they did not understand. This would be the most important thing ever in human history, yet when they did not comprehend what He was saying, Jesus did not insist that the disciples understand it. He was humble enough to allow them to put it together later (some truth is better experienced later (John 2:22).   

14:18, 27, 29-31, 38, 41, 61  The Lord Jesus Christ announced that one of His own disciples would betray Him and that they would all forsake Him. Having stated those two facts, He was humble enough to let Peter have the last word (14:31). 

Later, in the garden, instead of lashing out at the disciples for sleeping when He needed their prayers and support, He handled the satanic attack (see The Significance of Gethsemane) alone. Falsely accused (14:61, 15:3), He remained silent – what dazzling self-control (I Peter 2:23)! 

God is so humble He allows what He does to be mistaken for coincidence. We are apt to come to that conclusion and so are unbelievers.

15:15, 29-32  While a criminal was set free, Jesus was to be crucified as an unworthy member of society. Apparently Jesus was worse than a criminal. How did that make Him feel?  Submissive to this extreme humiliation, He remained humbly quiet. People at the foot of the cross railed on Him and mocked Him, misinterpreting His refusal to use His power to free Himself from the horrors of the cross. 

No Longer Quiet or Limited The first time the God-Man Jesus Christ came to the earth, He came in humility and human weakness.  He came to die for our sins and rebellion. What needs to be understood with “Jesus died for our sins” is that God is angry at our sin, but Jesus jumped in the way of the bullet we deserved (if you will allow that analogy) and took it for us. That is, Jesus Christ took our sin upon Himself, wearing it like a garment, and became sin for us, dying under God’s judgment. 

The second time Christ comes (future to today’s date of June 27, 2023),  He will come in authority and power. No longer to be ignored or trifled with, He will be the Judge of all the earth.  While there is still time, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Agree with God about what others know about you—you are terrible sinner. Give your life to Him. Ask God to redeem you.