Day 149 – Truly this is the Son of God

Recall the backstory of the Gospel of Mark. Remember that Mark was not an Apostle, but rather the companion / secretary of Peter. Mark’s Gospel in a recording of the preaching of Peter to the Gentiles, most specifically the Romans. Today, the passages contain some clues that corroborate that narrative.

Thus, when Mark records Jesus’ words in Aramaic from cross, “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Elo-i, Elo-i, lama sabach-thani?”, Mark translates them for his readers who probably wouldn’t have been familiar with Aramaic. Mark writes, “which means, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”. Note that Jesus’ words from the cross is the first line of Psalm 22. Just like if I would say to you, “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…” or “Here’s the story of a man named Brady…” you immediately know what I am referencing. After hearing this first line of Psalm 22 most ancient Jews would have likewise immediately recognized the reference. Try reading Psalm 22 now, it is haunting.

Jesus’ choice of the phrase also has another interesting aspect. John Henry Newman the great Anglican theologian who became a Catholic cardinal speculated that at some point while on the cross Jesus forgoes his omniscient nature and truly was alone without the Father and the Holy Spirit. Newman reasons that if the entire time on the cross Jesus as God knew that this condition was temporary and that he would soon be resurrected that it would in a manner diminish his suffering. Therefore he reasons Christ must have in some way given up his divine certainty of the outcome of his crucifixion. Note, Jesus would still have possessed absolute human certainty of the outcome. This shows us that the human certainty of faith is more than enough to get us through. Whether or not this happened, to what extent and how it would have worked are excellent meditation for prayer, especially during Lent and time of suffering.

Further, we see that it is a Roman centurion who speaks at the highlight of the narrative.

39* And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus * breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!

This is consistent with the gospel being written for a Roman audience. It is also consistent with Peter having gone out to preach the gospel to the gentiles. The Roman soldier can be seen in all of us. Salvation is now available to anyone who recognized Christ for who he is.

Finally, recall what we learned about the 4th cup. In the Passover ceremony the 4th cup closes the Passover meal. Mark tells us that they offered Jesus wine mixed with myrhh but he refuses it. However, we see that just before Jesus dies he is given a sponge soaked in wine to drink. This finishes the Passover meal that was started the night before in the upper room at the Last Supper. Again, one should try to conceive of everything that happens from the Last Supper until Jesus death on the cross as one singular event. It is the new Passover, with a new lamb being sacrificed.

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3 Responses to Day 149 – Truly this is the Son of God

  1. Jon musso says:

    I disagree Jesus didn’t give up his divine nature he never dies as God, his humanness dies, but he never gives his divine properties up more God humanness submits to his divinity. You see this in the garden take this cup from me , but not my will but your will.

  2. Jon, its important to be clear in what we are saying. I did not say that Jesus gave up his divine nature, I said that he gave up his omniscience – his ability to be all knowing. I also tried to make if clear that this is not formal teaching but speculation on the completeness of the sacrifice Christ made for us.

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