In the story of the healing of the deaf mute (Matt 15) we can’t help but notice the difference between what was important for Jesus and what interested the crowd. Jesus had gone from the seacoast to the hill country in order to teach the crowds. They, however, were more interested in his power to heal. So they brought to him all who were in need of physical healing. His major concern was to inform the mind and heart — theirs was to heal the body.
One person they brought to Jesus was a man who could neither hear nor speak. When it came time to heal him, Jesus he took man away from the crowd. The people swarmed after him anyway. As soon as the deaf mute was cured Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone about what had happened. They paid no attention and began to spread the news everywhere.
What we see here are two distinct priorities. Jesus wanted to teach; they wanted him to heal. Jesus wanted to be alone with the deaf mute; they wanted to watch a healing. Jesus wanted them not to tell others about what he had done; they did it anyway. There is no question but that their concerns were different from those of Jesus.
What does this suggest about living a Christ-like life? One thing is the importance of maintaining focus on that which is of eternal importance. It’s wonderful that the poor man was cured so that for the remaining years he could hear and speak. That was a concern for Jesus. But think of the eternal consequences of hearing and accepting the good news that the kingdom of God had come! The prospect of such a magnificent reality was a higher priority for Jesus.
But why did Jesus insist that the crowd not tell others what had happened? The answer is that he did not want his healing ministry to be considered as the focus of his ministry. People are naturally attracted to the sensational. There may be a warning here for the prominent role of the highly stimulating in today’s worship service. It is scripture that must continue absolutely central and not be side-lined by that which is best understood as supportive. Both/and is good theory but the balance tends to shift quite regularly away from what is truly important.