Some of the most powerful and revealing statements made by and about Jesus were said while He was on the cross. One such statement came from the lips of an unnamed Roman Centurion. After he had witnessed the execution of Christ, he worshipped God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man’ (Luke 23:47). The Romans were unquestionably the most influential and effective empire the world had seen. They were a force to be reckoned with. The Roman Empire was vast and the only way Jews could possibly hope for freedom from its rule was if the promised Messiah would come and defeat the Romans. The Messiah did come, but with a completely different purpose. One of the most powerful things about the cross is that Jesus was able to remain focused and compassionate enough to soothe the thief beside him and to ask forgiveness for those who had put Him there. This had to be one of the hardest requests to His Father.
Jesus knew He was going to die so He was not thinking of how He had got Himself in such a mess. Because Jesus knew who He was and what He was called to do, He was able to look outside Himself and minister to others, even the Roman Centurion could see this was no ordinary man. Even in such pain and anguish Jesus was still able to turn His attention to the hurting, and no one is beyond His gaze. Even though the Centurion knew little about Jesus, his heart was moved and changed by what he saw.
Easter is passed now for this year and what is it that we have understood? Jesus did it for us. He died so we could be free from the slavery of sin, and we can, if we ask. Then what…
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
Galatians 5:22 & 23