February 24: The Centurion

Read Matthew 27

Wow! This passage of scripture encapsulates so much-the trial, torture and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are so many great truths, and passages we could study today in this chapter, so it was hard to pick up on just one. But, after reading this chapter again, one verse just kept sticking in my mind. I’ve read this chapter so many times, yet never really thought about this verse, and now I look back and think to myself how did I miss it?

“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:54

Can you imagine being this guard? I can’t! After coming to this divine revelation, his life would surely never be the same again. In fact it’s eerily similar to the revelation you and I have when we first come to faith in Jesus by recognizing that He truly is the Son of God – the savior of the world. When we accept Him into our hearts our lives are never the same either!

What a unique line of events this man would have witnessed. Mockers mocked, the women were weeping and all of heaven looked on in shocked silence and awestruck wonder, as Jesus Christ fulfilled His final promise to please the holy conditions of a holy God. The earth was shaken to its very core; the sun was turned dark as dense darkness clouded the bloody scene of this beautiful ‘life-giving death’. The veil of the temple was torn and the Son of God, Who had drained the bitter cup to its bottom, placed Himself into His Father’s hands, willingly giving up His life for you and I.

This guard had surely witnessed dozens of crucifixion. He had likely seen hundreds of men find their death on a cross. But this one… this one was different. Something was in the air. Something wasn’t right. He had picked up on the divinity of the moment. God, Jesus Christ, handing over His life for humanity! He had witnessed firsthand the ultimate act of love. An act so reckless, so scandalous, so fierce, that it would shatter the worldly view of religion once and for all and restore it to what it was always meant to be a- a caring, compassionate, grace filled, loving relationship between the creator and the created. The guard had witnessed the saving power of the Gospel first hand.

I’m in tears even thinking about this moment in history. Why would a God so big, so powerful, so mighty, so perfect, ever want to have a relationship with us, yet alone die for us? The answer is so complex, yet, so very simple-Love.



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