Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.Matthew 27:54(KJV)
It was the centurion, who cried out, "truly this was the Son of God," when he saw the earthquake, the darkness, and all that took place at Calvary, on that pivotal point in history. Surely the life of the centurion who uttered these earth-shattering words, by divine revelation, was never the same again. Surely, for all who can look to the Lord Jesus in His death and resurrection and declare, "truly this is the Son of God - this is the Saviour of the world," - life can never ever be the same again.
No doubt this man was witness to the reviling actions of the Jews and the distress of the women, as Christ was led as a lamb to the slaughter. No doubt he also heard the precious pardon awarded to the dying thief, the words of grace offered to His mother, His anguished cry when He took the full weight of the world's sin upon His sinless shoulders, and surely this same centurion heard Christ's triumphant proclamation of His forever finished work - IT IS FINISHED - Tetelestai.
What a unique catalogue of events took place in that brief moment of time. Mockers scorned, women wept, and the whole heavenly host gazed on in stunned silence and awestruck wonder, as the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of the Father, fulfilled the final letter-of-the-Law to satisfy the holy requirements of a thrice-holy God.
The earth was shaken to its very foundation, and the sun was blackened as thick darkness shrouded the bloody scene of 'life-giving death'. The veil of the temple was torn through, from top to bottom, and the Son of God, Who had drained the bitter cup to its dregs, placed Himself into His Father's keeping, willingly giving up His life for all.
This centurion had no doubt been an eye-witness to scores of crucifixions, for this was the long, slow, painful death that had been introduced by Rome to ensure that the convicted criminal, under Roman jurisdiction, suffered the most excruciating agony in payment for their wicked deeds.
This man had no doubt been present at the cruel beating of Christ and witnessed the point when the sun was darkened for three hours and a great and mighty earthquake announced heaven's verdict on the sinful actions of sinful man - as the wrath of God was poured out on the sinless Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world.
Surely the life of that centurion, who was witness to Christ's redemptive payment for his sin, and the sin of every member of the fallen human race - including your sin and mine, was never the same after he watched Jesus on the Cross, and witnessed the earthquake, the darkness, and the many things that were done to our Lord.
And so, an unnamed centurion who was simply carrying out his soldierly duty, who was an eye-witness to this unique happening on that decisive day in the history of humanity, was caused to announce in tones... that would reverberate down through the corridors of time, "truly this was the Son of God."
Surely the life of the centurion who witnessed his Saviour dying on that Tree of crucifixion, and who uttered those earth-shattering words by divine revelation, was never, ever the same again. "Truly this IS the Son of God."
Loving Father, as I reflect on the awesome scene that took place when the Lord Jesus suffered and died for me, I bless Your name for revealing to me the gospel of grace and for drawing me into Your family as Your child. May I never become so 'familiar' with this scene that I forget its true significance. I worship before Your throne and praise Your holy name, for You truly are my most wonderful Saviour and I love You. In Jesus' name I pray, AMEN.