“Of all the thoughts which rise in the mind when contemplating the sojourn of our Lord Jesus Christ on earth, none perhaps is more affecting and subduing than the obscurity which attended it“
John Henry Newman
I suppose there are few of us who could have said it more eloquently than this Anglican Theologian of the 19th Century, in his classical sermon entitled, “Christ Hidden from the World.” Indeed, some of Jesus’ most fascinating deeds during His ministry were those that were done in secret, away from the crowds, away from the eyes of people.
Consider the blind man who was brought to Him in Bethsaida. Scripture says, “they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him.” Who is the “they”? Is it the disciples? Is it the crowds and multitudes who often met Him? Is it the Pharisees and the Scribes testing Him once more as they did just previously? Though it would seem hard to fathom his adversaries positioning themselves in the place of a beggar! Whoever they are, and whatever interest they might have in Jesus and the blind man can only be speculative, but the real interest lies in what Jesus does next. He takes the blind man by the hand and leads him out of town. Then He performs His miraculous deed and sternly warns him that he should not go back into the town or tell anyone there!
Various explanations have been given, but one seems most clear. Jesus our Lord would not be made a spectacle, and the vain glories of men He would not seek. It was Jesus Himself who said, “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men that you might be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Again, Newman offers one last insightful truth saying, “True religion is a hidden life in the heart.” It cannot exist without deeds, but those deeds are mostly secret, secret charities, secret prayers, secret self-denials, secret struggles followed by secret victories, each unique to ourselves.
The invitation to Christ and the life that follows is an open confession that professes Jesus unashamedly, but it is one that does so in the secret places, away from the crowds, away from the eyes of people. And there in the secret places one may rejoice and say, “Great is MY reward in heaven“!