To the first readers of Mark’s gospel, calling Jesus “Son of God” would bring to mind words from Jewish writings. They would also think of the Roman understanding of the title. The Emperor was called “Son of God;” the Romans gave him the title because he had conquered the world through economic, political, and military power. According to this belief, extravagant riches, control over others, and strong armies were signs that God ruled through the Emperor.
Christians challenged this belief, saying that Jesus, not the Emperor, was God’s true Son. And Jesus came to rule in a different way. In his rule, wealth was not to be hoarded, but shared. In his rule, people were not to be oppressed, but set free. In his rule, compassion, not violence, was the central value.
We modern Christians sometimes forget that our faith is counter-cultural. We are sometimes drawn into the belief that there needs to be a privileged few who hold economic and political power over others. When we call Jesus “Son of God,” we reject such beliefs. For God’s way is sharing wealth, power, and compassion for the common good.
Son of God, you have come to free us from the sin of grasping whatever we can at the expense of others. Father of mercy, you have sent your Son to free us from the hoarding of wealth. Holy Spirit, you are the power of the Son that moves us to work for in a world in which people are free from the fear of poverty and violence. Help us to live the sway of Jesus. Amen.