Today’s Reading: Matthew 27:32-66 (additional reading: Psalm 34:1-10 & Proverbs 9:7-8)
The Bible does not give us many facts about activities of the centurions. In fact, centurions are referred to only four times in the Bible. Of course the most famous centurion of all was Cornelius. In the Book of Acts, he was a man of valiant prayer who sought God through Christ. Cornelius became a believer after his encounter with the Apostle Peter.
Publius, a first-century historian, said that in order to be a centurion one had to have unusually high intelligence and physical stamina. If a man was chosen to be a centurion, he was the elite of a chosen few.
Why did this centurion become convinced that Jesus was indeed the Son of God? Why did he become convinced that Jesus was a good man? ave you ever thought about why you are a Christian? Why did this man choose to believe? What inspired and motivated him? What caused him to shout out in a doxology of praise, “Truly this was the Son of God!”? If anything will convince you that Jesus is all He said He is, surely it is the experience of the cross.
The reason the Roman soldier could scream out to those around him, “Truly, this was the Son of God!” is that through Jesus’ life and through the experiences of His execution, this Roman soldier saw a vastly different life. He saw a quality in Jesus Christ that made him say, “Certainly, this was a righteous man!” He also saw something about the humanity of Jesus that caused him to know that Jesus was a good man. The goal of Jesus during His entire life was that God the Father be visible, that God be seen in Him. Therefore, whether Jesus was cursed or hurt or even executed, His Father’s glory was going to be seen.
A.W. Tozer wrote: The cross…always has its way. It wins by defeating its opponent and imposing its will upon him. It always dominates. It never compromises, never dickers nor confers, never surrenders a point for the sake of peace. It cares not for peace; it cares only to end its opposition as fast as possible. With perfect knowledge of all this, Christ said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” So the cross not only brings Christ’s life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of His true followers. It destroys the old pattern, the Adam pattern, in the believer’s life, and brings it to an end. Then the God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins. This, and nothing less, is true Christianity… We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do – flee it or die upon it.