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At the outset, it might seem strange that Christ should tell His disciples to keep this great truth to themselves. But when you carefully look at the matter, you will come to know that Christ had a reason for this.

At His baptism, we know that the Father spoke from Heaven in the hearing of the multitudes that were assembled there.

And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

Also, the Holy Spirit testified that Jesus was the Messiah by publicly coming down from Heaven and resting on Him.

And, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. (Matthew 3:16)

The greatest prophet, John the Baptist, too, testified as to who Jesus was.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

Even the Word of God too testified clearly about Jesus being the Christ. Jesus Himself told the unbelieving Jews:

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39)

Also, the very life, teachings, and miracles that Christ performed testified constantly to the people around that He was come from Heaven. Jesus said:

“The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me.” (John 5:36)

Having all the evidence, the people were still so closed and did not want to believe that He was the Christ because He did not fit into their concept of the Messiah. They could not accept that a “poor” carpenter from a small village in Nazareth could be God’s Son!

Jesus asked His disciples an interesting question:

“Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, ‘Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.'” (Matthew 16:13, 14)

Not even one person believed that He was the Christ, even though the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Scriptures, the greatest prophet, and His very works testified to the truthfulness of His claims! And do we suppose that if these “unlearned” apostles went around telling the “learned” Jews that Jesus was the Christ, they would believe? That is the reason He told them:

“That they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.” (Matthew 16:20)

Christ was only helping the unprepared disciples against scathing attacks from the unbelieving Jews.

But later, after He was risen from the dead, and after they were filled with the Holy Ghost, they preached publicly that Jesus indeed was the Christ! (See Acts 2:22-41)