When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!”
Mark 15:39 (NLT)
There is so much in these two sentences. Matthew and Luke also confirm in their writings that this centurion, a highly respected Roman officer in charge of 100 men, confessed that Jesus was God’s Son.
Imagine for a second you are the centurion. You are in charge of the execution squad. A squad that makes it’s living killing people. You have overseen so many executions that you’ve become numb to someone dying on a cross. With those being crucified just inches off the ground, this centurion could have been at eye level with Jesus and able to hear everything Jesus is saying from the cross. Outside of the earthquake and darkness at noon, there are three things that Jesus did that made his death so different that it got the centurion’s attention.
The first thing that Jesus did was respond with silence to the torture, shame, mockery, and pain. Many men would curse and spit on the execution squad. Jesus responded differently this way but also another way. If men called out for anyone, it was usually their moms. Jesus never called for His mom. Jesus called for His Father. The final thing is that some men are taking their last breath to ask forgiveness. Perhaps plead their case before their god. Jesus was asking His Father to forgive those who put Him on a cross.
Without knowing of the resurrection, the last few hours of Jesus’ life overwhelmed this man’s soul that he blurted out the greatest confession of all time—Jesus is God’s Son! A confession that I’m sure was heard by the religious leaders, spectators, Jesus’ family, and his own squad.
When so many people missed it, the centurion caught it!