The scripture for today is Matthew 27:54
Matthew 27:54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, truly this was the Son of God.
A centurion in the Roman army was the commander of a hundred men. The scene at the cross was not that of a few soldiers doing the work of death. There were many soldiers there participating in the crucifixion of the Savior. They became not only the instruments of death but also the closest in proximity to Christ when He died. They had the best view of this gruesome scene but had no understanding of what was really taking place. They were killing machines, experts at execution, and their leader, the centurion, was the most skillful of them all, overseeing the procedure that would slowly drain the life out of the now impaled and doomed victim.
While they had crucified many before, they had never been in the presence of One so powerful and in full control of Himself. They undoubtedly had heard of the accusations against Jesus, that He claimed that God was His Father. They had relegated such claims to nonsense and dismissed Christ to nothing more than a condemned criminal, one to be scorned and ridiculed. So, following their orders, they crucified Him.
They were “watching Jesus” as they carried out their deadly assignment. It was impossible not to see the demeanor of majesty even in a face that was beaten almost beyond recognition. They watched Him, but they did not embrace Him; they did not understand who was hanging there before their eyes. They did not understand that this man, whom they were killing, was dying for them. Yes, they mocked Him as He died for them.
As he died, the universe spoke and the earth was shaken. The sun refused to shine its light upon this scene of suffering and death and all of creation shuddered as the Son of God gave His life. Seeing these awesome events brought fear to the hearts of His slayers. While they had executed many men before, they had never seen any man die like this one. From their pagan hearts, they were compelled to acknowledge that “truly this was the Son of God.”
The centurion and his men did not take the life of Christ, He willingly gave it to save the world. That is what they saw. Not a man whose life slowly slips away after hours or often days of hanging on a cross, but a man who, on purpose, gave His life. Yes, Jesus was and still is the Son of God. And because of His sacrifice that day, we can be free from sin and its penalty. Jesus paid it all.
God bless you as you continue in His service.