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  • Writer's pictureKelly Lesser

Surely This is The Son of God

“At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah." One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said. With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" (Mark 15: 33 – 39)


The intensity of those moments must have been difficult to witness. The people of Jesus’ day were, unfortunately, familiar with crucifixion, but this particular crucifixion was different. This was no ordinary execution. This was a man who, days before, had been welcomed into the city by cheering crowds of admirers laying their cloaks and palm branches in front of him as he rode on a donkey. Now the man welcomed in triumph days earlier, hung on a cross as a criminal. And the reaction of those who witnessed it varied from sorrow to mockery.


As Jesus died, strange things began to happen. He didn’t just stop breathing. When he died the temple curtain was torn. We know that things got to be strangely dark in the middle of the day. Jesus died much quicker than they expected; and from other gospel accounts we know that when they pierced His side to see if he was dead, blood and water flowed, which was unusual.


But what is perhaps most amazing is that a high-ranking military officer would be convinced through all this that who Jesus had claimed to be was actually true. “Surely this man was the Son of God.” What an amazing response.


For many Christians, the story of Jesus’ crucifixion is familiar. And maybe sometimes, all too familiar. But do we truly understand what was accomplished on the cross and through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead? Are we convinced that Jesus is the Son of God as the Centurion was convinced? Sometimes I wonder if we miss the wonder of that moment – that the Son of God would willingly give up His life for us. Yet, there is no greater truth than knowing that God so loved the world that He sent his only Son.


For those who call Jesus Lord, let us approach the throne of God giving thanks for this great work that has been done for us. It is through Christ the Messiah we have been saved and restored to right relationship with God.


This year, as you remember Jesus’ death, consider what that moment meant for the world and for you. Take a moment or two to allow it to simply sink in that your Lord went to the cross and suffered for you so that you might have eternal life in Him.


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This article was originally published in The Recorder Vol 61 no 2

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