Janice Kreider spoke on “A time to speak and a time to stay silent”. In 2 Kings 5, a young Jewish slave girl suggests that Naaman’s skin disease could be healed by the prophet in Israel. In spite of her low estate (female, youth, a foreigner and slave), her speaking out transformed someone’s life. After being healed, and Naaman has declares that he will no longer worship any God but Yahweh, he asked Elisha what to do when he is forced to enter the temple of Rimmon with his king and bow before the idol. Elisha, possibly sensing that no single answer can address all situations, wisely remains silent, telling him only to ‘go in peace’. In Mark 1:40, Jesus heals a leper, but then instructs him not to tell anyone. This strange request seems to go against other injunctions to spread the Good News, tell all people, etc. It is possible that Jesus realized the former leper would need to reevaluate his new life before rushing to become a sort of celebrity. Some scholars also think that the instructions to be silent in Mark 1-7 were Jesus’ way to indicate to the masses that he had no political ambitions. But by Mark 8 Jesus is ready to become more explicit and tells people what kind of death he will undergo. We also recall that although Jesus answered dozens of difficult questions (a time to speak), he remained silent before Pilate (again, no answer would have changed anything). One desert father advised that we not speak unless our words can improve upon someone’s silence. [JEK]
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