DayBreaks for 8/26/20: The Captivated Centurion
I don’t know how many people stood on Calvary’s hill and watched the brutal death of Jesus. We know who some of them were, but most are nameless and faceless. I know if I’d been one of them who just stood by and watched I’d probably want to be nameless and faceless, too.
We do know that there was a Roman centurion who attended and oversaw the crucifixion. The day started out for him like any other day of execution but it took a twist that he never, ever expected.
We don’t know his name or hometown. We only know six words that he uttered in his lifetime: Surely this was a righteous man.
I don’t believe for a second that he’d heard Jesus preach or witnessed any of his miracles. He’d probably heard the name given the uproar in the city on Palm Sunday and during the trial. He may have even laughed at the idea of that Jesus was a “king”. He may have been in charge of the scourging – we simply don’t know.
Then he witnessed how Jesus died and that was all he needed to see to make his statement. What was it that prompted his declaration? It surely must have been the fact that it is when we are under hardship that others can see what we’re really all about, what we stand for, what we believe, how we react to the difficulties. In short, when we’re in pain is when our rawest character shows, unadorned by pretense. Our faith isn’t seen based on walking through a church door every Sunday morning – it is best seen when we are wracked with pain, suffering, in a hospital, ridiculed, mocked and literally or figuratively spit upon.
What he saw changed the heart of the centurion. I wonder how he felt that night when he returned to his cohort. What he saw was peace in the pain, forgiveness in the heart of suffering and betrayal, and words of righteousness and kindness.
We’ll never know if the centurion would have been moved by the words of the Sermon on the Mount. After all, any one of us could preach a sermon standing in a field of wildflowers. But, as Max Lucado put it, “…only one with a gut full of faith can live a sermon on a mountain of pain.” – No Wonder They Call Him Savior, Max Lucado
Chances are you’ll face some sort of adversity today. What would the centurion say if he watched you?
PRAYER: In the midst of our pain let our tongues, thoughts and actions point others to you, Lord! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>