How many times do we find ourselves late to the party? Well, not the party, but the last to find out what is going on. Or the last to buy into a new fact? Or listen to others in authority? Or just others who know? Perhaps this is a dynamic you’ve experienced with a spouse, child, or parent?
I experience this with the navigation system in my car. I use the navigation system even when I know very well where I am going. Why? So that I’ll know exactly when I will arrive. Do I know how long it will take me to get there? Usually. So why? Well, if there is some problem ahead it will re-route me. The problem is that I often doubt it. And I fail to follow the recommended new route. I should have learned my lesson by now. I’m getting better.
As we roll into Easter this year, we look at the crucifixion from the perspective of the centurion who was present. The centurion, by his position, was an officer, leader, and manager – a very credible witness, especially for non-Jews. After Jesus died, this witness says, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Did he say it sarcastically (because Jesus had just died)? I don’t think so. The authors of the reporting Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) in various manuscripts try to include some language or hints that he said it because of what he had witnessed. Isn’t it amazing that Jesus made someone a believer in that moment?
We shouldn’t find ourselves like the centurion. Though I believe that God is gracious and forgiving, we shouldn’t do that to ourselves. Imagine our disappointment and dismay to wake up one day and believe. “Hmmm. Maybe Jesus really was the Son of God.” We will wish we had believed it earlier. Why? Because He allows us to experience life with a relationship with God. That was the whole point of his death. And it isn’t simply about our death. Having a relationship with God is about life. The here and now, not just the afterlife.
Matthew 27: 45-54
Palm Sunday and the lead-up to the Crucifixion
Matthew chapters 21, 26-27
Mark chapters 11, 14-15
Luke chapters 19 (v 28-48), 22-23
John chapters 12 (v 12-50); 13-19