When You Know
"And behold, the feel of the temple was torn from top to bottom, and the earth shook; and the rocks were split, and the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, 'Truly this was the Son of God.'" Matthew 27:51-54
A Roman Centurion was an educated, considered man. He was rarely rash in his thinking, but able to evaluate the situation. He was a man who had faced battle and seen men be wounded and die. A Centurion had pledged his allegiance to Rome and to Cesar as his lord.
In the midst of supernatural events, the Centurion at the cross was faced with a staggering set of facts:
*The beaten, bloody Jesus arrives at the place of execution when any one else would have been dead long ago.
*Jesus forgives His executioners and those who made fun of Him and abuse Him in the midst of unbearable pain. He does not returning the mocking.
*One convicted prisoner comes to defend Jesus and he is promised Paradise.
*A nearly tangible darkness for three hours at high noon.
*Jesus cries with a loud ice, " It is finished!" just as the shoffar is sounded for the competition of the afternoon sacrifice.
•He dismisses His spirit at the moment of His choosing.
*The 60 foot temple veil, four inchs thick, is torn from top to bottom without visible cause.
*A sudden earthquake opens nearby graves.
*The occupants of the graves come out alive and well, and are seen by many witness.
This battle hardened Centurion and his occupation and his occupation force soldiers became frightened. What would frighten his man. He is confronted with something he could hardly frightened. What would frighten this man. He is confronted with something he could hardly fathom. Caesar was god in Rome. The monarch was considered dine. And now the facts are presented that contradict that reality he had accepted. "Truly this was the Son of God." he says. He must have been utterly convinced to have made this statement within earshot of his troops. It was treason against Caesar.
Yet he was confronted with an undeniable reality too. "To deny the facts would be illogical," according to Mr. Spock of Star Trek. The famous Sherlock Holmes is quoted saying "When all other possibilities have been eliminated, whatever is left, however unlikely, must be true." The Centurion didn't believe Jesus was the Son of God because Pilates sign said so. He didn't accept the truth of Jesus Divinity simply because Jesus had claimed it. He was confronted with a body of evidence and digested it. No other possibility was left to him.
Jesus made a claim to be God in human flesh. It's likely that the centurion was aware of this claim. As the afternoon progressed and one thing stacked on to of another, this well educated man is forced to evaluate what he sees. When he s finally confronted with the outcome, he decides Jesus is Who He claimed to be. What will you do when you are confronted with the outcome, he decides Jesus is Who He claimed to be. What will you do when you are confronted with the love of God and the end of your own ability to deny Him any longer? How will you react when your own resources can no longer sustain you.
What will you do right now? When His grace, love, and mercy become undeniable will you side with the thief on the left or the thief on the right?