47 When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” 48 And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow. 49 But Jesus’ friends, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance watching.
We are skeptical people. We need proof. With the easy access to the internet, we can look things up that we don't know. We can prove things to be true. We just want proof.
Yesterday, as I tucking my son Kaden in for the night, we were having a conversation about the need for proof before we believe in something. I reminded him about the verse, Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29 When it comes to our faith, we need to believe in things we have not seen. One of my favourite verses is Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see because that is what faith is.
For some people, like the Roman officer, it took the whole process of watching Jesus' execution before he believed it.
John MacArthur explains:
This particular officer was guarding Jesus and obviously in charge of the soldiers who were responsible for this prisoner. He was over the soldiers, most likely, who arrested Jesus on Thursday night in the garden, who then stayed with Him to make sure that He didn’t escape and that no one took Him away. These would be the soldiers under his command, along with him, who were there with Jesus through the whole time of the trials and particularly when He was brought before Pilate, Pilate’s Pretorium. This centurion and his soldiers would be the ones who mocked Jesus. They would be the ones who threw an old soldier’s cloak on Him as if it were a royal robe and put a reed in His hand as if it were a scepter, and a crown on His head as if it were a crown belonging to a king, when in fact it was a crown of thorns. They were the ones who would have taken that mock scepter and hit Him in the face with it, spit on Him and mocked Him and made a joke out of Him. They were the soldiers who were eyewitnesses of the entire ordeal from the very beginning. They heard all the conversations. They heard all the accusations. They heard everything that the leaders of Israel sent against Him and they heard the verdict of innocent repeated at least six times.
They saw Jesus act like no prisoner they had ever seen, completely innocent. His innocence verified time after time after time after time and yet He never retaliates, He never cries out, He never demands some kind of justice that He’s not getting. He suffers with grace and majesty through the unjust trials and He takes all their mockery and abuse silently, never protesting even though they spit on Him, and taunt Him and mistreat Him. He never curses them, He never threatens them.
They had to be utterly amazed at how differently He reacted to what was going on than every other prisoner they had ever experienced. There was no category for someone to behave like this, an innocent man taken all the way to the cross and then they were the ones who nailed Him to that cross, at least four of them.
But until now, the uniqueness of Jesus doesn’t seem to have any particular impact on them. They were hardened men. And Jesus being passive, didn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treated Him. They didn’t treat His passivity with a little more sympathy, no not at all. They showed Him no mercy. They hammered those nails through His hands as they would through the hands of anybody and through His feet, they set the cross upright, dropped it into the hole dug for it while it ripped and tore the open wounds. They cast lots for Jesus’ garments and they just sat down to watch Him die like they had watched hundreds of others die.
But all the while, the things they were experiencing were ruminating in their minds. They heard Jesus pray for His killers, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” They saw the noble way He suffered. They heard Him cry out to His Father. They heard Him promise paradise to a repentant thief who had been cursing Him. And then they experienced the impossible, midnight at noon, three hours of pitch blackness and an earthquake that split rocks. They could no longer ignore reality.
And the final...the final proof, the darkness, the earthquake and then Jesus just before He died cries with a loud voice, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” That had never been done. People who died of crucifixion had oxygen deprivation to their brains and were long incoherent before they actually died. They couldn’t muster up enough breath to breathe, let alone to shout at the top of their voice. This man took death by His own will and made it His servant.What do we need to see to make us sure about our faith in God? Do we need that kind of proof before we believe?
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 23:50-56
God's patience with us is amazing to me.
Post a Comment