Throughout Great Lent the Sunday Scripture lessons do give to us the clear understanding that Jesus is the Son of God. This no doubt is the case because early on in church history Great Lent was a main catechetical season of the Church year, preparing candidates for baptism and reception into the Body of Christ.
Biblical scholar Stanley Porter (HEARING THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, pp 95,97)) writes regarding the Roman Empire in which Jesus and His first disciples lived:
“Recognition as ‘son of God,’ of course, was reserved for the Roman emperor (as seen in many public inscriptions) … not for a Jewish would-be Messiah.”
Porter reports that Roman historical sources claim that when Julius Caesar died the sun itself was hidden in darkness. The Jewish historian Josephus also reports the sun being darkened by Caesar’s death. The claims of the apostolic witness to the miracles associated with Jesus were thus a direct challenge to imperial Roman religious claims. When Vespasian became emperor, Roman historian Suetonius wrote:
“Vespasian as yet lacked prestige and a certain divinity, so to speak, since he was an unexpected and still new-made emperor; but these also were given him. A man of the people who was blind, and another who was lame, came to him together as he sat on the tribunal, begging for the help for their disorders which Serapis had promised in a dream; for the god declared that Vespasian would restore the eyes, if he would spit upon them, and give strength to the leg, if he would deign to touch it with his heel. Though he had hardly any faith that this could possibly succeed, and therefore shrank even from making the attempt, he was at last prevailed upon by his friends and tried both things in public before a large crowd; and with success.”
Interestingly, it was the emperor who needed the faith to heal, unlike the healings which Jesus did in which the people had faith in Him. Lent was originally a time to teach catechumens the truth about Christ and to reaffirm to all believers the basic facts about Jesus as Lord. This teaching was done within the context of the Roman Empire whose self-understanding included a mythology about Rome having a special place in the eyes of the gods and in which the emperor was proclaimed a god.