…And there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour…and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus calling out with a loud voice, said “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”
Luke 23: 44 – 47 (ESV)
Can we honestly grasp the significance of what this Roman Centurion finally voiced after personally witnessing the stunning events surrounding the last moments of Jesus’s life on that fateful day? This most powerful man at the scene, the trusted officer responsible for efficiently guiding all three crucifixions through to their grim conclusion, was utterly shocked by his revelation of who Jesus really was.
There is no question that this Centurion was a highly disciplined and toughened soldier, possessing unquestioned loyalty. But in this extraordinary moment, of which he was a witness, he was utterly staggered as he unhesitatingly began praising God outwardly with true conviction in his voice. The strength behind his utterance was focused solely on God. What did the Centurion actually believe at that point? He was certainly overcome with the revelation that not only was Jesus innocent but he must also be who he said he was, the Son of God.
It is highly probable that the Centurion’s life was forever changed at that moment when he was so deeply moved by the day’s events and it’s dramatic ending. He couldn’t help but reach the conclusion he did after honestly evaluating the day’s dramatic events. For you just didn’t reach his elevated rank if you were a man of frivolous conjecture or one prone to weakness. He may have remained a rugged Centurion, but within his heart-of-hearts, he was also now, a Soldier of God.
What does this biblical account tell us?
God can easily penetrate and reach deep into the heart of anyone at any time, in any circumstance, with the truth. Let us never doubt him.
Dear Lord, Let us never confine, limit, or doubt your ability to reach the lost, regardless of situation or conditions. Amen.