Lent Devotion, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018

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In the opening verse of his Gospel, Mark calls Jesus “Son of God,” a title used several times in the story of Jesus. At his baptism, Jesus hears a voice from heaven say, “You are my Son.” The Gerasene demoniac asks, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” On the Mount of Transfiguration, three disciples hear a voice from heaven say, “This is my Son, the Beloved, listen to him.” At his trial, Jesus is asked, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” And after his crucifixion, a Roman officer exclaims, “Truly this man was God’s Son.”

To understand the significance of this title, it is helpful to look at two backgrounds: the Jewish and Roman. Today, a few words about the former; tomorrow, the latter.

In the Jewish Scriptures, “Son of God” includes these meanings:

–the king (Ps. 2:7, Ps. 89:26-27)

–God’s people (Exod. 4:22-23, Jer. 31:9)

–angels and the heavenly host (Ps. 89:6-7).

In Jewish writings other than Scripture, the son of God is associated with the righteous and with the Messiah. “Given such a broad pattern of usage and the veneration of Jesus by early Christians, it would have been remarkable had he not been regarded as Son of God.” (C. Clifton Black, Mark, p. 205)

To call Jesus God’s Son is to say: He is chosen by God to communicate God’s way of life for the world. In him, we see divine love.

Son of God, through the power of the Spirit you have been sent by your Holy Father. Open our ears to hear you, that day by day we will receive the words we need. Amen.

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