Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Strength in Weakness

Mark Horne points out in his commentary, that in Mark's gospel there is a "sandwich story" running in chapter 15. Beginning with the Roman soldiers mocking Jesus, sarcastically mocking Him as "King of the Jews" and ending with the Roman Centurion acclaiming in all seriousness, "Truly, this was the Son of God." In addition to Romans on either side of this episode, it's necessary to remember that the title "Son of God" means king. That was the title Augustus Caesar had given himself, and the same title functions throughout the Old Testament with thick royal overtones.

In both instances the Romans evaluate Jesus on the basis of His weakness. In the first scene the Romans are mocking Jesus because He is being led away to crucifixion. In the latter scene, the centurion acclaims Jesus as King, seeing Him dead on the cross. Both see a man in weakness, and yet both conclude vastly different things.

At the center there are three groups of people likewise mocking like the first Roman soldiers. But it is not until Jesus dies and the veil is torn in two that the Roman centurion sees the truth. The death of Jesus finally reveals the Most Holy Place; Jesus is revealed to be truly who He said He was.

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