Surely this man was the Son of God! Mark 15:39
This quote comes from a centurion who was standing watch at the crucifixion of Christ, according to the account of Mark. He was the commanding officer of the soldiers who mocked and laughed at Jesus while He was up on the cross. He stood by while his soldiers insulted Jesus and most likely joined in on the fun. If he didn’t, then he did nothing to stop it. Have you ever been part of a similar scene? Have you watched some one being abused and done nothing to help or maybe even joined in?
Like some of you, I grew up around physical abuse. The area in which I lived was at times harsh and unkind, although I went through life with kind and loving parents and never personally was harmed. There were a few occasions when I had to stand by and watch some one else suffer. As a kid watching these scenes of abuse, you feel helpless. Sometimes you begin to blame yourself, or you become scared that you might be next. Most of the time I felt enraged. One day I was going to grow up and be strong enough to put a stop to all of this, I told myself. My little child mentality grew a defiance and courage in me that I could overcome all odds and reason. I am happy to say that I never became the monster that I feared. Or have I?
As much as I hate to admit it, I can relate to the centurion at the cross. There are times when Christ has nudged me or called me through the Holy Spirit.
Figuratively, I, too, have watched Christ die on a cross. I have watched how my sins hurt other people. Whether it was through bad relationships, treating others unkindly, being judgmental, or a number of other sins, I have stood, mocking Jesus that He could not be the answer for my life, and with shame in my heart and tears in my eyes, I am sorry.
We are not perfect beings, we have the freedom of free will, and we have the choice of turning away from the One who loves us the most. For some of us we have this “centurion moment”: the moment God reveals Himself and we recognize that He has been there the whole time. The moment when we realize our sins have grave consequences, and cause irreparable damage that we alone cannot face or repair.
We are not perfect beings, we have the freedom of free will, and we have the choice of turning away from the one who loves.
The journey of Passion Week is upon us. We are reminded of the sacrifice that Christ paid for each and every one of us. From His triumphant entry (Matthew 21:1-11), to His death (Mark 15:33-41), it is a time when we can reflect on our lives and recognize these “centurion moments.” The difference? There is forgiveness and grace to battle for our souls now that Christ has paid the ultimate price for our sins (1 Timothy 2:6a). No matter what sin we are coming from, abuse, neglect, hatred, sexual desires, His blood runs deeper than sin. We can say with confidence, “Because I am forgiven I am loved and valued.” Through this revelation we can move on from simply recognizing “this man was surely the Man of God!” to “He is risen!” (Luke 24:34).