Day 37 :: Undeniable
When the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
There’s a good chance today doesn’t look much different for you than yesterday did or the day before that or the day before that. We live life day to day and sometimes something memorable happens that is out of the norm but most of life is lived in what is known as the mundane.
This morning let’s put ourselves in the mundane shoes of a Roman Centurion (a military figure, captain of 100 men/guards/soldiers) for a few minutes as we look at today’s passage from Matthew 27:54-56.
For the centurion, it was most likely just another day on the job, presumably no different than any other day. He and his men were there to see to it that everything went according to plan as three men were nailed to their crosses, and lifted up to hang there to the death. This would have been something this centurion and his men had done many times before, it is probably safe to assume there was a form of routine to it, perhaps little more than the mundane life as a centurion.
However, one of these three men to be crucified (yep, Jesus) that day was clearly hated by the Jews as they had already beaten Him severely and were making fun of Him, mocking Him saying, as recorded in Matthew 27:43, “He trusts in God; let God rescue him now—if he takes pleasure in him! For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
Surely the centurion and his men heard these words and remembered them as, just hours later, they saw the earthquake and other notable things that happened as Jesus died on the cross. Matthew 27:54 says of the centurion and his men: “they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”” The very words the Jews said in mocking Jesus that will surely condemn them are the same words that saved this centurion and those with him who believed that day. Jesus is indeed the Son of God!
God’s Word tells us in Ephesians 2:1, speaking to Christians, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins.” The writer then goes on to explain that God has made them alive in Jesus. The Jews there that day at the cross were dead in their sins, they could not see spiritually, and their hearts were hard. Even though the Son of God was right there in front of them, they left there that day still dead in their sins.
However, as Jesus died on the cross this Roman Centurion and those with him who believed were made alive, their eyes were opened, and they were given new hearts. They were made alive in Jesus by God’s grace, through faith as they confessed “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Undeniable, irresistible grace. The spiritually dead called to life by the power of God. If you are a Christian this is the realisation we live in and the testimony we bring — we were dead but God has made us alive in Jesus. This is why we share the hope we have. In God’s strength we bring a powerful message (the Gospel) about the all-powerful Saviour, Jesus. Only God has the power to bring spiritually dead people to life…we are simply messengers.
Passages to read: Matthew 27:54-56, Mark 15:39-41, Luke 23:47-49 (Also John 11:38-44 - Biblical illustration of how we come to God…Lazarus raised from the dead)
A thought to remember: God makes alive in Jesus those who He will. Praise God for new life in Jesus.
A question to ask: How often do we praise God for making us alive in Jesus? How often are we having Gospel conversations?
A song to sing: Alas, and Did My Saviour Bleed