A True Statement

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Some of those who stood there, when they heard that said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him. And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the graves after His reserrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”  Matthew 27:45-54

What a declaration! These were not the words coming from cowering fearful men, but rather a seasoned veteran soldier, who was in charge of many other soldiers, who had seen many men die horrible deaths, in fact was responsible for putting them to death for years. Obviously the centurion was deeply moved by the events he had witnessed, and his only conclusion would be to recognize the deity of Christ. This centurion was well aware of the strong condemnation of the Jewish religious leaders that had put Jesus on the cross for making the claim to be the Son of God. Seeing his own commander-in-chief, Pontius Pilate, uphold the conviction for Jesus’ making that claim. But what he saw, what he witnessed as  Jesus hung on that cross, far out weighed any evidence contrary than to what Jesus had said, and he found overwhelming Christ’s claim to be true. A true statement indeed. This man witnessed and oversaw many crucifixions by now, yet, there was something different, something was extraordinarly different about this particular execution. There are several scenes from the events of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion that combine evidence of why it was so different. The arrest—In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled” Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled. ( Matthew 26:55-56) Jesus did not put up a fight. Nor did He try and defend His actions during His trial: ” Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, ” I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Jesus said to him, ” It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, ” He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think? They answered and said, ” He is deserving of death. Then they spat in His face and beat Him; and others struck Him with the palms of their hands, saying, ” Prophecy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You? ” (Matthew 26: 62-67)

The only true statement was made was the very one which infuriated these so called high priests, the religious leaders of their day, who were so blinded by their religious stance of upholding the law of Moses, that they couldn’t see Jesus as the promised Messiah. Their response—Jesus was turned over to the centurion and his men who would then merciless beat Jesus: Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified.(Matthew 27:27-31) The mercy of Jesus toward the people who rejected Him and the soldiers that crucified Him, including the centurion, was what I believed tipped the scale. Luke records it for us in his gospel: There were also two other criminals, led with Him to be put to death. And when they had come to that place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. Then Jesus said, ” Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”(Luke 23:32-34)

The Response—The first century Jews were expecting a Messiah who would overthrow their oppressive Roman occupiers. Jesus Christ, however, had come to overthrow the power and oppression of sin and death. They saw first hand the supernatural phenomena suddenly appear as Jesus gave up His spirit with a loud voice and died. The centurion was understandably shocked by the significant events that accompanied the death of Christ. In all of his military experiences of gruesome exposure of death, he had never seen such things before. And the impact on him was inescapable. ” Truly, this was the Son of God! “The meaning of this statement has to be, Is that Jesus must have been what He claimed to be! They could not come to this conclusion because they heard an announcement from an angelic messenger or prophet, but solely from the effects of the power of the cross!

Beloved friend, Jesus as the promised Messiah and Son of God is seen most clearly in His passion and death. How ironic that the religious leaders mocked Him with the title (vv.41-44) and the Roman centurion now confessed Him. It is the power of the cross and the love of God displayed there that moves the hearts of men, even the most hardened, battle weary heart of a career soldier, that from death to eternal life. The saying “The ground is always level at the foot of the cross” is so true here. It was in the first century, and still is today. The men and women who witnessed the trial, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Christ saw more than words can ever express. What they actually heard we can only imagine? But what they saw in their lifetime we have seen through the Scriptures, and the results are amazingly the same. Though we may not have seen Jesus physically, we can see Him in the pages of Scripture, and find the solid ground for belief in the way of salvation. “So faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17)

May the Lord bless your walk today!




Author: rontrujillo

Married 37 years We have six children. All of whom are adult. Three are married one of them blessed us with three beautiful grandchildren. Retired Firefighter @ Boeing Aircraft 37 years (Formally McDonnell Douglas) Born Again Summer of 1981

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