Who is Jesus?

Jesus took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. ‘My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,’…He fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘Abba, Father,’ he said, ‘everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.’

We have been reading through the book of Mark with one of our neighbors, Renso, Paola and their two kids Camila and Nicolas. 

Throughout the whole book we have been asking the question, “Who is Jesus?” They had heard some of the stories about Jesus before but this has been their first time to read through the life of Jesus for themselves. It has been shocking to them at times as we have read through these stories. For us, getting to read through Mark with them has opened our eyes to be able to see it for the first time again. 

This passage that I wrote above is from Mark 14. It is when Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane to pray because he knew he was about to die. A couple weeks ago we read this section of scripture from Mark 14:32-42 and after we read it Renso looked sad. It hit him hard. You could tell by looking at him that he felt like he had just been punched in the stomach. He told us that he had never thought of Jesus being scared before.

And is that not how the disciples must have felt on that Saturday after Jesus died on the cross? They had believed the whole time that Jesus was with them that he was the messiah. The king that was coming to rule. And then, all of a sudden, he’s dead. And it’s Saturday, the day after his death, and they feel hopeless.

Renso has heard these stories before about the life of Jesus, but he had never been confronted with the humanity of Jesus that is revealed in these verses. He left our house that night feeling hopeless. Seeing how sad it made him really affected me. I will never read this passage the same again. It really made me sit back and take in what was happening in the story. 

At our next get together we started out by reading Psalm 22. It begins: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” This is the feeling that we had left in from our previous meeting. The disciples were praying this prayer, Renso was crying it out. God where are you? I thought that you were coming to save the world and yet, they just killed you.

But the story continues, and so does this Psalm. Psalm 22:24: “For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” The Psalmist knew that all along God was present. Renso knew all along that there was hope to come. So we continued reading Mark—and Jesus rose! This is the good news. This is what takes away that feeling of being punched in the stomach. This is what gives us hope to say he has listened to our cries for help. This was the coming of the Kingdom here on earth. This was the answer to our question “Who is Jesus?” 

He is the messiah. He is the King. He has come to rule and is ruling now. He is the Son of God. He is our redeemer. And now the question is “So what does this mean for us? Will we follow?”  That’s the question we left with Renso and his family, and the question Mark leaves us all with.