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Did the Centurion Realize Who Jesus Is?

Evangelist, preacher and a leading Bible scholar
Updated Sep 13, 2010
Did the Centurion Realize Who Jesus Is?

The centurion in the presence of the Cross was a man of authority, and he had soldiers under him. He was a man of law, of order, of discipline, of duty, and from that standpoint of life he had watched the dying man until at last he said, "Truly this was a Son of God." To properly appreciate this statement we must understand the Roman thought rather than the Hebrew in the phrase "a Son of God." I believe the centurion meant that He was one of the sons of the gods. The Roman idea of God was that of heroic, courageous manhood, magnified in all its powers, and looking upon this man in His suffering, the heroism, the courage and the discipline manifested in submission, appealed to him as being Godlike.

And yet he said another thing, "Certainly this was a righteous Man." This was the conviction of one who was himself a man of duty. To this Roman soldier the one governing principle of life was that of duty. He lived in the midst of a system. He marched in rhythm and time. He obeyed and insisted upon obedience with inflexible regularity. Rightness was the one word of value to him, at least in the sphere of his soldierhood. He saw in the Man upon the Cross One evidently acting in the realm of order, submissive to authority, and therefore authoritative, keeping time with eternal principles in the quiet majesty of His submission, "a righteous Man." The centurion as a man of duty discovered order in the Cross, and as a man who worshipped high ideals, saw the Son of God crucified.

What did the Cross do for the centurion? We have no record of his life afterward, but this much at least is certain, that it commanded the respect and the confession of that which was highest in human government. And if we may follow the story along imaginative lines, it is more than probable that the King upon Whose brow the centurion placed the diadem of his loyalty, crowned him with the realization of his own highest ideals of life.

Adapted from The Crises of the Christ, Book V, Chapter XXI, by G. Campbell Morgan.


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