“Surely this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39)!
Over two thousand years have passed since Jesus was crucified. Since then, millions of people have come to believe in and confess him. Of all the confessions, none is more amazing than that of a Roman soldier who witnessed the event.
It is amazing because he was a centurion. It is likely that he had served in the Roman army many years, had fought in many bloody battles, and had seen or been responsible for many cruel acts and deaths. He knew almost nothing about Christ. He had never heard of him, read a Bible, seen a church, or met a Christian.
What he saw on Calvary’s hill made his confession even more amazing. He saw a man who had been tried and sentenced to death. Taunting him, calling him a phony, and spitting on him, the crowd was delighted to see Jesus suffer and die.
We may ask, “What did he see or hear that caused him to confess Christ?” He saw a man suffering in agony and pain on a cross who, in the last moments of his life, made arrangements for his mother and one of his disciples to be taken care of. He saw a man with only a short time to live take time to save a convicted criminal. He saw a Christ who had love and forgiveness for everyone, even his crucifiers. He heard Jesus praying, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:40).
If a Roman soldier with so little information could confess Christ how much more should we be able to?
Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. firstname.lastname@example.org, http://www.people-for-the-christian-way.org