“Truly this is God’s son!” (Mark 15:39)
Listen for the echo of this promise throughout this Holy Week.
“Truly this is God’s son!” This is quite the statement from an outsider. These words were spoken by the Roman Centurion at the foot of the cross of Jesus; who was likely supervising his execution. Yet, from this oppressor and outlier it becomes a rich proclamation – reminding us of who Jesus is, what he has come to do, and what this cross means for ourselves and the world. Are you listening?
“Truly this is God’s son!” The echo of these words resonates as we pay attention to the story and see his friends betray, abandon and deny him. We hear these words personally as we contemplate how we have also betrayed, abandoned and denied Jesus ourselves. Yet even as these words call out our unfaithfulness, they proclaim God’s steadfast love with an even louder echo of hope.
“Truly this is God’s son!” This statement echoes across time and space from those who bear witness to Jesus and his cross around the world. Through many languages and cultures and across many centuries echoes cry out: “Jesus is Lord!” These words echo back toward us, who stand at the foot of his cross now. Will we listen to that echo, as we wonder how Christ continues to meet us, where this cross calls us to go, and how we might follow in his footsteps?
“Truly this is God’s son!” Where might this echo reach the oppressors, outsiders and outliers around us who are also in need of good news? Are we listening for them? How can we help them hear it too?
“Truly this is God’s son!” Can you hear the echo of these words in your own despair? We live in a world full of suffering, fear and anger. A sense of abandonment, blame and outrage continues to fill us as we see injustice towards others, bear our own burdens and face our inner hopelessness. Yet there is Jesus on the cross – beside us, before us, behind us every step of the way. He is there on the cross, for you. Keep listening for the echo.
“Truly this is God’s son!” From the cross, Jesus calls us to be more human, more present, more fragile, more selfless in our treatment of others as he embodies God’s ultimate sacrificial love and undeserved mercy for us – when we feel like the outliers and outsiders and are confronted by the oppressive systems in which we all participate.
“Truly this is God’s son!” Can we echo these words back towards ourselves? Cling to what they promise in the midst of turmoil and strife. Share them by how you live, act, speak, and interact with others. With strangers. With neighbors. With those you love most.
“Truly this is God’s son!” We will soon gather Sunday morning as these words echo back to us yet again. As Mark tells the story (in Chapter 16:1-8) the women run away from the empty tomb in terror and amazement much like you and I do. Soon, they too will hear the echo to share all they have seen and heard with the others. As we wait in terror and amazement, what echo will you be listening for when they share their witness with us?
“Truly this is God’s son!” Hearing these words echo; will you then believe?
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