The “messianic secret” is a concept in the history of interpretation of the Gospel of Mark, not a phrase that occurs in the text itself. The theme of the messianic secret plays an important role in Markan narrative Christology. It repeatedly reminds the reader that through the gift of faith, he or she is really in the know about Jesus’ true identity as Son of God, messiah, and suffering servant. The revelation of the messianic secret also dramatizes the inevitable disclosure of the full truth about Jesus: namely, His identity as both Son of God and suffering servant. The other synoptic evangelists, as we have seen, assimilate, attenuate, and reinterpret the Markan messianic secret.
Messianic Secret is a significant point in this Gospel, as it portrays the mystery and disbelief that Jesus is in fact the Messiah, until his true identity is unveiled and no longer a secret after he is raised from the dead. Many accounts in the Gospel show Jesus concealing that he is the Messiah, which is evident in 8:26 when Jesus cures a blind man at BethsaAida quoting ‘Do not even go into the village’, to prevent others from acknowledging the blind man’s regained eyesight. Again these verses portray a message to have a continuous faith in Jesus by following him until death and sharing his suffering, thus into the Kingdom of God. It is a very important part of the Mark’s Gospel as it is made clear that Peter has realized that Jesus is the Messiah (whereby the Disciples are made aware of the secret) and that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead (Mark: A Gospel for Today, 1989). In none of the synoptic gospels, however, does one find the kind of open messianism which characterizes the fourth gospel.
William Wrede coined the term das Messiasgeheimnis and used it in the title of his very influential study of Mark that appeared in 1901 (Wrede, 1969). He developed a hypothesis to explain a number of features of Mark that he believed had the same purpose, namely, the commands to demons and disciples not to reveal the identity of Jesus (for instance, Mark 1:34 (demons), 3:12 (unclean spirits), and 8:30 (disciples)), the instructions to those who are healed by Jesus not to speak about their healing (Mark 1:44), the lack of understanding by the disciples (Mark 8:14-21), certain individual features that betray a tendency against publicity, and the so-called parable-theory.
Danes, Christopher & Simon, B. (1989). Mark: A Gospel for Today. Lion Publishing, England.
Wrede,William. (1969). Das Messiasgeheimnis in den Evangelien: Zugleich ein Beitrag zum Verständnis des Markusevangeliums. Göttingen, Germany.