Tuesday, April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011 … A Soldiers’ Saving Response

Passage of the Day: Matthew 27: 54 … When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely He was the Son of God!"

Also in Mark 15: 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard His cry and saw how He died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"

And in Luke 23: 47 The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, "Surely this was a righteous man."

My Journal for Today: In this passage, recorded in three of the synoptic Gospels (see above), we read of the power of God through the life of Jesus to overcome any set of circumstances and even personal/cultural traditions to draw the lost to Himself.

In this scenario, we see a Roman Centurion, who didn’t likely have an understanding of Jewish beliefs or traditions; nor, before this fateful day, did he care for this man, Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Centurion was charged to crucify there on Golgotha. And prior to that horrible day, this soldier certainly didn’t believe that this man was the “Son of God” or the “King of the Jews” as the sign on the cross mockingly declared above Jesus’ head that day.

But then, on this fateful and God-ordained day … the Centurion became a witness to the God-Man being put to death on the cross; and he heard Jesus say things like, “Forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And as a dreadful night-like darkness descended over that place in midday as well as the earth shaking, God opened the eyes of the Centurion to see that this man, in Luke’s version, was “a righteous man,” not a criminal. Mark and Matthew reported the man to say, “Surely this man was the Son of God;” and in that moment (according to Rom. 10: 13), that Roman soldier very likely could have become a saved man forever. We don’t really know his heart; but we can hope for his soul; because anyone, according to the truth I just cited, who sees himself as a sinner in need of a Savior and repents, believing and declaring Jesus is his Lord, will be saved.

Something like that happened to me on April 13, 1983, when God took the blinders off of my eyes. Like the Centurion, up to that day, I had been anti-Christian. Like the centurion, I had a position of some influence in my culture; and in a very real, emotional sense, I set about “crucifying” Christians wherever and whenever I could. Yet, as God did on Golgotha, He used a special pre-ordained set of circumstances to bring me to a place where I could see and hear the truth about the power of Christ to be my Savior and Lord. And on that day in April of 1983, I was led to declare that Jesus had to be the Man Whom He claimed to be. And like I hope was the Roman soldier, I, too, was saved from my self forever.

I really believe that I will see this Centurion in heaven one day. And I pray that all who read this will be with us there as well!

My Prayer Today: Thank you, Lord, for the grace that saves even blinded soldiers. Amen

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