This morning, as I reread the story of Christ’s arrest and crucifixion, I became interested in all the people who were involved in the events. Simon of Cyrene was just a passerby who became noted in history as the man who helped Jesus carry the cross. Malchus was the high priest’s slave whose right ear was severed from his head at the hand of our impetuous Peter; he was also the last person Christ healed before he was nailed to the cross.
Annas, Caiaphas, and Pilate were shaky leaders who did not want to decide the fate of the Messiah, so they played word roulette and took a stance of ambiguity. Christ’s blood may have been washed from their hands, but it forever stained their conscience.
The crowd of citizens, soldiers, and religious leaders vociferously demanded Christ’s death. They found power in going along with the crowd.
Christ’s loved ones stood by helplessly watching as their hearts were crushed with each taunt and each drop of blood that was spilled.
However, the individual who really caught my attention as I reread the story of the cross was the centurion, an officer in the Roman army, a man of rank and importance stationed at the cross to guard the condemned Christ.
The centurion was not a disciple of Jesus nor was he a Jew. He was at the cross doing his job, his duty.
He watched the manner in which Christ died. He witnessed Christ hanging on the cross with spikes through his hands and feet take care of His mother by placing her under the care of the disciple whom He loved.
He watched Jesus suffer tremendous physical and emotional pain yet ask the Father to forgive those who gleefully rendered the torture and ridicule. He saw the blood trickle down Christ’s face from the thorns pushed into his brow, the nails driven into His hands and his feet, yet it was the love embodied in the man, Jesus that lodged in the centurion’s mind and changed his heart.
He watched as Jesus, dire from thirst, received and most likely choked on the sour wine prepared to further increase His suffering.
Ultimately, he watched as Jesus uttered, “It is finished,” bowed His head, and gave up His spirit.
The centurion “saw” Jesus in the deepest sense of the word. He not only witnessed the physical actions occurring in front of him, but he fully considered the Christ. The centurion’s sight transformed to insight and his response was “Surely, this was the Son of God!”
Is the Easter story something you’ve heard, read, and celebrated, then moved on with life, or is it interwoven with your life?
Has it moved from your head to your mind, to your heart?
Do you know the true Christ or just the picture?
Have the events of Golgotha Hill truly transformed your life?
Those are the questions I posed to the woman in the mirror.