FFF 8:5 (May 1962)
The Influence of Jesus
“He Could Not Be Hid” (Mark 7:24)
Notice that the writer does not say, “He would not be hid,” but rather, “He could not be hid.” Our Divine Master never sought the limelight; publicity was never His desire. Therefore, the statement, “He could not be hid” was a testimony both to His reticence and to His inevitable influence.
In John 6:15, when He perceived that by force they endeavoured to make Him a king, He retired into a mountain Himself alone. The geographical situation was indicative of the moral state. Alone, in solitude, separated, isolated — this was most congenial to Him. The crowds attracted Christ and called forth His compassion. Multitudes met His mercy and thus were blessed. Yet still, He often withdrew to regions apart, and His retirement tells of His reticence. In quietness and confidence lay His strength.
Just as the sun casts a shadow, and as the moon affects the tides, so our Lord inescapably shed an influence. The statement, “He could not be hid,” becomes a summary of His experience. The Lord derived very little from circumstances, but circumstances derived very much from Him. Irrespective of what they were, the circumstances that surrounded Him were always impregnated by His presence.
What would Bethlehem, Nazareth, Sychar, Calvary, or Olivet be to us apart from Christ? Surely they would be little more than a list of names, or geographical locations. When He is in the midst, however, they at once vibrate with life and assert a dynamic force.
With Christ in the midst, Bethlehem attests to the presence upon its plains of the God of the whole earth. Nazareth tells of the Infinite One locating Himself within the orbit of a domestic circle. Sychar speaks of One, Himself separate from sinners, contacting a sinful woman, and from her eliciting worship and devotion. Calvary affirms the awe-inspiring mystery of divine atonement for human sin. Olivet for evermore shows the God of resurrection holding celestial converse with those whom He is pleased to call His own.
Whether it be in the manger, in the home, by the well, at the cross, or on the hilltop, the influence of Jesus irradiates every sphere with a light above the brightness of the sun. Geography gains significance by means of grace, and the commonplace becomes illuminated by the presence of the Divine One.
Every contact which Christ made left its impress, its imprint, and its influence. None ever left His presence unaffected. Friend and foe alike felt the force of His influence.
Remember what Luke tells us, “The power of the Lord was present to heal them” (Luke 5:17). The word “present” is in italics, which means that the bent which the power took was in the direction of healing. Power in the abstract can be cruel, vindictive, and violent; but here, combined with pity, it produced health and healing.
Similarly, the influence of Jesus assuredly must be active either to save or to condemn. From Calvary there emanates illimitable tides of health-giving virtue and blessing; but from the Great White Throne there will emerge unutterable waves of judgmental wrath. This will result from Christ’s being in the centre of things. The influence of Christ, both directly and indirectly, makes its presence felt, whether the world realizes it or not.
Down the years, amid the councils of men and the conferences of nations, and in all the annals of human history, Christ’s unsuspected influence has left its mark. History confirms that He could not be hid.
Let us make it more personal by bringing matters down to our own individual experiences. Have we not felt the force of this fact? Has not our own history, personal and individual, this same truth to tell; namely, that He could not be hid?
Our circumstances have been the mere wrapping which has enclosed, as a precious jewel, the fact of His real presence. Although at times we may have been far from the consciousness of its reality, yet in the light of subsequent happenings we can say with Jacob when at Bethel, “Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not” (Gen. 28:16).
See the tenth leper going away from Christ, yet in his flesh feeling the gracious influence of the healing virtue of Jesus; or the Samaritan woman, her heart throbbing with strange emotions wrought by the same blessed influence. In these cases, among many others, we witness, like ripples upon a disturbed pool, the all embracing, if unsuspected, influence of our Divine Master. Let us iterate and reiterate the blessed truth, “He could not be hid.”
In closing, it will be salutary to realise that we, as God’s people, are shedding an unsuspected influence every day we live and in all the circumstances of our lives. “No man liveth unto himself, and no man dieth unto himself” (Rom. 14:7). Therefore it behoves us, like our Holy Master, to keep in touch with Heaven so that our influence, like His, may be of a God-honouring nature.