(Post by: Lilly Hobbs)

A couple weeks ago, as Mom and I were discussing the Kingly aroma that Jesus would have carried with Him the last week of His life, and the events/people that would have been impacted or at least made to question who He really was, I couldn’t help but think of how Jesus changed one life in particular.

One life that He transformed at the foot of the cross.

In Mark, we are provided with a glimpse of a man who was present during Jesus’ crucifixion. This man was a Roman Centurion, the commander of over a hundred soldiers in the Roman army. It is likely that this man had presided over the crucifixion of hundreds, possibly thousands of men.

This man may have very well witnessed Jesus being brought before Pilate, and according to Scripture, we know He was present until Jesus’ body was lowered from the cross and given to Joseph of Arimathea. He may have been one who was present when the detachment of soldiers aided in Jesus’ arrest the night of His betrayal.

This man would have ordered his men to beat Jesus, caring little for who He was. He thought of Him only as another in a long line of people he had been commanded to execute. He would have been nearby when Jesus was dressed in a robe and had a crown of thorns pressed into His head.

He walked Him to Golgotha. He would have given the order to proceed with the crucifixion.

This man is mentioned in three of the four Gospel accounts. He is mentioned, not for his cruelty, or anything else relating to his profession, but for a miraculous transformation that happened immediately following the death of someone he crucified.

You see, the behavior of murderers, thieves, and criminals was all too common to him. This was far from being his first crucifixion. From their crosses he had heard many shout curses to the men below and blaspheme God’s holy name.

Mark reveals that this Centurion understood that there was something different about this crucifixion.

Mark 15:39 says, “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

For many of us, this is a shocking plot twist, and maybe causes us to cringe and think to ourselves, “No, the man who gave the order to execute Jesus cannot possibly be saved.”

Yet, the Roman Centurion saw God working, where God was most active, even when no one else did. This begs the question… Why did everyone else gathered around the cross not see it? 

The truth is that God tends to work where people don’t expect to find Him. This is why God is often most concealed to some where He is also most revealed to others. John 1:10-11 says, “He was in the world, and though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize Him. He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.”

What I find so absolutely interesting about this story is that this man, the Roman Centurion, would have known/believed Caesar to be the Son of God. So what does our God do? He does away with that silly idea, and it all happens at the Cross, the exact place where Rome’s ability to banish life is on display for everyone to see.

Caesar, the world’s version of the Son of God, had the cross as his emblem. It was symbol of his earthly power. So what does our God do? He chooses that very place to reveal Himself to a Roman.

Jesus is the revelation of God being God, and at the Cross, the greatness of God is revealed to those willing to see.

It just so happens that the one who was not a Jew, one who was not a part of God’s chosen people, is the one who claims Jesus as the Son of God.

You can almost hear him whisper it under His breath even now, “This one was different.”

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