It is a hard lesson to learn; in the kingdom of God, things are not always as they appear.  We would think that earlier in Mark’s Gospel when Jesus asks “who do people say that I am” that there would be a resounding reply from all sorts of people, especially those who have status in the temple.  In a bizarre twist of fate the question is answered here at the end of Jesus’ life, we hear the answers; Rabbi, messiah, king of the jews, son of the blessed one… all of these titles said in contempt, said with the cruelty that only those intent on violence can have; they are titles that rightly belonged to Jesus, but instead of being said with honesty and truth, they have become cruel taunts as his broken body gets bloodied and beaten until at last he is dead… and then, ONLY then when he as breathed his last, a centurion, a member of the occupying forces of Rome, answers the question of who Jesus is by saying… “Truly this man was God’s son.” …Truly this man was God’s son… yes, he was and is God’s son, and those who were present at his baptism or present on the mountain when he was transfigured would have heard God say…this is my Son.. the beloved…This is God’s son who healed the sick and fed the hungry and commanded even the elements to listen to him… This is God’s son who brought gentiles into the fold… this is God’s son who raised the dead…  and yet, when it mattered most those who were his friends scattered, and he was left with angry, fearful people who didn’t know who he really was.  They dismissed him as a criminal and trouble maker, a crackpot who would soon be forgotten,,, but the centurion, the one who was part of the occupying forces, one of the enemy, one who condemned Jesus, only this centurion came forward to proclaim who Jesus was and is…the rest wanted more signs, more, more, more… none of it was enough no matter what Jesus did or would have done, none of it was enough to prove to them that he was God’s son.  It was a centurion, the outsider who as he watched Jesus die, understood THIS sign above all signs, this victory on the cross, that this man Jesus was God’s son.

We heard God’s voice at his baptism… we have witnessed the healings, we have heard him teach.  Today we too must answer the question, “Who do WE say that Jesus is?” May we answer with the Centurion, “Truly, this man was God’s son”.