In Mark’s gospel the word “revealed” (phaneros/phanerao) tells a fascinating story.
Initially, after cleansing a leper, Jesus is unable to “openly” enter the city because the leper has proclaimed (lit. preached) the fact of his healing (1:45). Again, Jesus strictly warns the demons not to make Him known (3:12), but later, immediately following the parable of the seed and the sower, Jesus says that “there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed…” (4:22). By 6:14, King Herod has heard of Jesus because “His name had become well known.” And Herod mistakenly things that John the Baptist is risen from the dead. Whatever reasons Herod may have had for this confusion, it functions as foreshadowing. The word is only used two more times in Mark and both times following the resurrection.
First, Jesus “appeared” to two disciples as they walked into the country (16:12), and later He “appeared” to the eleven at the table (16:14).
Mark’s gospel begins with Jesus unable to openly enter the city and warning the demons not to make Him known, but Jesus says that whatever has been hidden will be made known. Nothing hidden will not be revealed. And by 6:14, this is already on its way to happening, with the name of Jesus becoming “well known,” and Herod mistakes it for the resurrection of a prophet.
This lends support to those who have pointed out that Jesus maintains some secrecy at the beginning of His ministry (particularly in Mark) because He wants His death and resurrection to be the main event, the main revelation. It also highlights the role of evangelism and preaching in making Christ known. In the early chapters of Mark, it’s those who have been cleansed and demons making Him known to the extent that His name becomes known to Herod even. And we cannot miss the irony: when the King hears His name, he assumes there has been a resurrection.
That’s the power of the word going forth. The word goes forth in a way that requires faith in the resurrection. When we talk about Jesus, when we tell the story of how Jesus healed us, saved us, when even His enemies cry out in defiance, word spreads and even pagan kings assume there’s been a resurrection. And there has.
That’s what the seed of the Word always does. It goes down into the ground and is hidden. But there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed.