The Messiah, the Son of God

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.

Mark 1:

I want to reflect for one more day on the opening verse of Mark. In yesterday’s reflection, I focused on the meaning of “Good News” in the statement: “This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (1:1). Today I want to draw our attention to the specific content of that Good News.

That content has to do with Jesus and his identity. Yet it’s easy for us to misunderstand what Mark intends in verse 1. Many English translations use “Jesus Christ” instead of “Jesus the Messiah” for the Greek phrase Iesou Christou. That standard translation is fine as long as we remember that “Christ” comes from the Greek version of the word “Messiah.” “Christ” is not Jesus’ last name, but rather a title that identifies him as Israel’s Messiah, the Anointed One, the king who was to save Israel and restore God’s kingdom.

The phrase “Son of God” has a range of meanings. In later Christian theology, “Son of God” points to Jesus’ divine nature as the second member of the Trinity. But the original Jewish sense of Son of God, that which flows from the Old Testament, has to do with royalty. The “Son of God” was the king of Israel (2 Sam. 7:14; Ps. 2:7; 89:26-27). This didn’t indicate the king’s divinity, but rather his royal authority derived from God. In time, Christians came to see that Jesus was far more than a king. But the roots of his full identity grow deeply into the soil of the Old Testament and its vision of the kingdom of God. Mark 1:1 reminds us of this salient, but often overlooked, truth.

Thus, when we acknowledge Jesus as Messiah and Son of God, we should understand the original sense of this language, the language of kingship. Mark 1:1 introduces the Good News of God’s reign by focusing on Jesus who is the agent of inauguration. In the Jewish context, Jesus has come to fulfill Old Testament promises of the kingdom of God. In the broadest sense, Jesus has come to usher the reign of God over all the earth. This means we will have the opportunity to live with Jesus as our king, to serve him in every aspect of our lives.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: When you hear the words “Christ,” “Messiah,” and “Son of God,” what comes to mind? Do you ever think of Jesus as your king? What difference does this make in your daily life?

PRAYER: All praise be to you, Jesus, because you are Israel’s Messiah, the Anointed One, who ushers in the kingdom of God.

All praise be to you, Jesus, because you are the Son of God, the rightful king.

All praise be to you, Jesus, because you are not just the king of Israel, and not just the king of creation, but my king. I honor you today with my words and deeds. May I live my whole life in service to you, O King. Amen.

P.S. from Mark: If you've been receiving these Daily Reflections for a year or more, you know that, during the summer, I take a few weeks off from writing new reflections. This break allows me to catch my spiritual breath, so to speak. Beginning on July 23, 2013, and continuing through September 1, 2013, we are sending out reflections on the Gospel of Mark, covering the first half of the Gospel this year (saving the second half for later). I wrote these reflections a few years ago, but trust that they will continue to help you grow in your devotion and service to God. In early September, we'll return to Ephesians so that we might complete our devotional reflections on this amazing book.

Image courtesy of Laity Lodge, one of our sister programs in the Foundations for Laity Renewal.

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