“The only worse thing than bad publicity,” they like to say in Hollywood, “is no publicity at all.” In our hyper-competitive, information-overloaded, celebrity-obsessed society, there are those who will do whatever it takes to generate “buzz” and remain in the public eye.
But not Jesus. His healing ministry was bound to generate attention. Yet when demons shouted out, “You are the Son of God!” he warned them to stay silent. We might say that he didn’t want his enemies to take charge of his “branding,” to use a modern marketing term. It’s not that Jesus was denying that he is God’s Son. Far from it! But he wanted to ensure that people came to understand his identity on his own terms, not theirs.
Throughout his ministry, people speculated that Jesus was a king, a prophet, an insurrectionist, a miracle worker, even his deceased cousin, John the Baptist. Not bad guesses, all things considered, but none of them hit the mark.
Jesus can only be properly viewed through the lens of his death, resurrection, and ascension. That’s why he only wants those who know of and believe in such things to proclaim him to the world. In other words, the Church. And that means us. By what we say and do, our lives should proclaim, “You are the Son of God!” Same words as those demons, to be sure. But they spoke from fear. We speak from love.