“See that you don’t tell anything to anyone – but just go your way and appear before the priest at the Altar for your purification, make an offering, just as Moses instructed.” (Mark 1:44)Here is the situation surrounding Jesus' instruction above:
Later a leper came to him, calling out and kneeling before him, saying, “If it pleases you, you can cleanse me.” Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out his hand and touched him, saying to him, “It pleases me for you to become cleansed.” Immediately, as soon as he had spoken, the leprosy left him and the man was cleansed. He sternly warned him as he sent him away – saying to him, “See that you don’t tell anything to any one – but just go your way and appear before the priest at the Altar for your purification, make an offering, just as Moses instructed.” But the man left and began to spread what happen around publicly – so much so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city – leaving him outside in remote places. Even so, they came to him from everywhere. (Mark 1:40-45)Jesus had a purpose for instructing the man not to spread the news. He wanted to be able to enter and walk through a town without throngs of people crushing him to be healed of their bodily woes.
Why didn't Jesus want him to tell others?
But why? If Jesus wanted to heal people, why did he not want the man to spread the news?
This is, in fact, the opposite of what the many evangelists do with their 'big tent' ministries. They will actually pay the media to broadcast to the public all their supposed powers of healing. Other, more conservative ecclesiastical sects will advertise in papers and put big signs out front of their churches in order to attract people into the church. Many of them will get creative with their advertising - trying to differentiate themselves from their "competition."
Why do these ecclesiastical preachers and their sectarian institutions push so hard - with all their advertising and so on - to get people into their big tents or churches?
Because they are looking for followers. Sure, they may say they want to save others, and they may sincerely think they can, but the appointed leaders of sectarian institutions essentially want followers. They want throngs of people to crowd around them asking to be healed or touched or prayed for.
If they didn't, then they wouldn't work so hard to get to their positions as church leader. They would not have bothered with the political maneuvering required to get to that position of leadership.
Jesus had another approach
This completely contradicts Jesus' approach. He didn't want throngs of so-called followers. He wasn't interested in being famous. He didn't need to build a reputation.
Yet Jesus certainly did have an outreach program. He did go from town to town and stand in courtyards and hilltops as he preached. Isn't this the same as wanting to get people into the church or big tent?
The difference is that Jesus was not wanting to attract attention to himself. He wasn't looking for his own fame. He was wanting to glorify the Supreme Being, and bring those who were ready back to the Supreme Being.
He also was not looking to benefit materially from his teachings. He didn't request a salary or lavish quarters paid by donations of his followers. In fact, Jesus did not even ask for money or donations. He accepted the voluntary offerings of his followers, but did not request any salary or payment to support himself.
And he asked his followers who preached to do the same:
"Whenever you enter a village and they welcome you, eat what is set before you." (Luke 10:8)This is a quite the opposite perspective today's ecclesiastical priests and ministers have: They demand salaries in return for their services. They will interview and canvas for their reverend positions as though it is a job. They will bring in their resumes and request a certain salary in return for their services.
Then they receive their reward for their service with the salaries they receive. Thus they are not serving the Supreme Being - they are serving those who are paying their salaries. To serve the Supreme Being means to offer one's services to Him as a sacrifice. As a freewill offering.
You see, the Supreme Being doesn't need anyone's help. He can broadcast His existence to everyone simultaneously if he wanted to. He doesn't need our help.
However, He does accept service from those who care about Him and want to please Him. But that service must be given freely and without an expectation of reward in order to be loving service.
And this was precisely what Jesus was doing. Just consider how Jesus saw his followers as belonging to God - in his open prayer to the Supreme Being:
"I have revealed Your Name to the people You have entrusted to Me from the material world: They were Yours and You entrusted them to me, and they have followed Your Teachings. Now they understand that everything You have given me comes from You." (John 17:6-7)Jesus also accepted that his teachings and authority came from the Supreme Being:
"By myself I can do nothing; As I hear, I make choices, and my choices are just because I do not seek to please myself but to please Him who sent me." (John 5:30)Jesus' activities of preaching and healing were not being done to promote himself. He wasn't in it for his own glorification. Rather, he was serving the Supreme Being, and his service was to "reveal" - or introduce his followers to the Supreme Being. His activities were meant to please the Supreme Being because Jesus loves the Supreme Being.
Yes, we are speaking of a relationship.
A relationship of love. Jesus was loving and serving the Supreme Being and this was his focus.
And he was also wanting others to rekindle their lost loving relationship with the Supreme Being. This is why he instructed the man to go to the temple and make an offering to the Supreme Being:
" but just go your way and appear before the priest at the Altar for your purification, make an offering, just as Moses instructed."What does Jesus mean by this?
The phrase, "for your purification, make an offering" is translated from the Greek phrase προσένεγκε περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ.
The word προσένεγκε means "to offer (of gifts, sacrifices, etc.)" according to the lexicon.
The word περὶ means "concerning" or "about."
And the word τοῦ means "of" or "for."
The last word, καθαρισμοῦ means, "a cleansing" or "purification."
So Jesus is instructing them to make an offering in order to become purified. But what does Moses have to do with this? - "just as Moses instructed"
Moses instructed his followers to carry out the same process of offering to the Supreme Being, done together with worshiping Him and praising His Holy Names. This is a time-honored process handed down from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob and then to Moses, and eventually, as we see here, to Jesus. This is why Jesus was also instructing the man to make offerings. Here is God's instruction to Moses:
“Tell the Israelites to bring Me an offering. You are to receive the offering for Me from everyone whose heart prompts them to give." (Exodus 25:2 NIV)We see here that the Supreme Being instructs Moses to receive offerings on behalf of the Supreme Being. He also is requesting that the offering comes from those "whose heart prompts them to give."
What is an offering? Just consider what a man does when he brings a flower to his date before they go out. Why is he offering a flower to her?
An offering is intended to communicate to the other person that we want to have a relationship with them.
This is why the Supreme Being instructed Moses that offerings should come only from someone "whose heart prompts them to give."
This was also communicated later with the concept of "freewill offering:"
"I will sacrifice a freewill offering to You; I will praise Your Name, LORD, for it is good." (Psalm 54:6 NIV)So we see that this concept of making a heartful offering to the Supreme Being while praising His Holy Names is an ancient practice that was practiced not only by Moses and his followers: Jesus also practiced this, and also instructed his followers to also make offerings to the Supreme Being.
The goal of making offerings to the Supreme Being is to re-establish our loving relationship with Him. But how can we do this by ourselves?
We cannot. We are currently covered up within this material world. We are covered up by our self-centeredness. And we are covered up by our self-identification with this temporary physical body.
Thus we are not able to see and thus know the Supreme Being. And we are not able to execute a relationship with the Supreme Being because we are covered up by our self-centeredness.
But contact with the Supreme Being can purify us. By making offerings to the Supreme Being - along with praising His Holy Names - and invoking His representatives like Jesus - we can gradually become purified.
But what becomes purified?
Our consciousness. We are currently polluted with greed and self-centeredness. Making offerings to the Supreme Being has the effect of cleansing our consciousness as we come to understand our identity as the Supreme Being's loving servant.
This is what Jesus is speaking of when he said, "for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." Jesus knew that by making an offering to the Supreme Being, the man's consciousness would become purified, and his "testimony" would be his revived consciousness and rekindled relationship with God.
In reality, when Jesus would "give thanks" with loaves and so forth - he was actually making an offering. The term "given thanks" is actually a mistranslation of the Greek word, εὐλογέω (eulogeō), which means, according to the lexicon, "to praise, celebrate with praises;" "to invoke blessings;" and "to consecrate a thing with solemn prayers."
This indicates that Jesus wasn't simply "giving thanks" in those situations. He was making an offering to the Supreme Being - done with praising the Supreme Being as instructed by Moses and by David, and all the prophets. And following the offering, the food Jesus had offered became sanctified. Consider this statement:
Then as they were eating, Jesus picked up some bread and offered it to GodI – and broke it and gave it to the disciples, saying, “Take – eat – this is my substance.” (Matt. 26:26)We see with this statement - with the more appropriate translation from the Gospels of Jesus - that once the bread had been offered, Jesus considered the bread sanctified to the point of saying that this was what his very substance.
Was he really saying that the bread had literally become his physical body - as stated in sectarian translations? So they should now eat his body like cannibals?
Don't be ridiculous. Jesus was speaking metaphorically. He was telling them, metaphorically, that he has offered himself to the Supreme Being. And like the bread that was offered, he saw himself as belonging to the Supreme Being, because he has offered himself - his very substance - to God.
Jesus also confirmed this in a different prayer, made right before he was arrested:
“LORD, if it pleases You, take this cup away from me, but let Your will – not mine – be done.” (Luke 22:42)With this prayer, Jesus is essentially offering himself to the Supreme Being. He is wanting to do whatever God wants him to do. This is an offering, just as we might offer our foods before we eat them.
Yes, each of us can reach out to the Supreme Being and make an offering to Him with praises of His Holy Names. We can offer Him our meal before we eat as Jesus did. We may also offer Him some water. Or a fruit or a flower. When we are ready, we can also offer our lives to Him.
In terms of sacrificing and offering animals, this is very complex, requiring many regulations regarding draining all the blood and so on. Thus it is best to offer simple foods of non-animal origin, such as grains, vegetables, fruits and so on.
The point is that the Supreme Being doesn't need our stuff. He already owns and controls everything. But the Supreme Being will accept a sincere offering from us - put forth with humility and with praising of the Supreme Being's Holy Names. Such an offering allows us to connect with the Supreme Being, and this contact has the effect of gradually cleansing our consciousness - from self-centeredness to God-centeredness.
The goal is to come to know, love and serve the Supreme Being, as Moses and Jesus instructed their followers:
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’" (Mark 12:30 and Deut. 6:5)