Wednesday, September 24, 2014

In the Face of Death

“When the centurion, who stood facing him [Jesus], saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” Mark 15:39

“This way”?  After six agonizing hours on the cross, Jesus cries out in a loud voice (not easy to do when you can barely gulp enough breath to stay alive), “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Only a few moments later, it says Jesus “uttered a loud cry and breathed his last” (v.37).  We know from John 19:30 that loud cry was “It is finished”.  Papyri receipts have been found marked with this single Greek word [tetelestai] to indicate “paid in full”.  His work was complete, our sins were "paid in full".  The Lamb of God, who became flesh, then bows his head and gives up his spirit [no man took it from him].

“In this way”, a hardened Roman soldier, accustomed to watching people die, sees something so remarkable, different, godly that he recognizes Jesus as the Son of God.  Think about that for a moment.  The soldier is a Roman centurion, a leader over 100 other soldiers, trained in mortal combat.  He has probably seen hundreds of people die and what he sees in Jesus is so incredibly opposite of every other person, that he is instantly convinced that the man who died "in this way" was indeed the very Son of God.

In the face of death, a gentile soldier is brought to life.  In the face of death, Jesus satisfies the wrath of God for all who believe, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor. 5:21).

Do you see what the centurion saw?

All to Jesus, I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

[Refrain]
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow,
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
Truly know that Thou art mine.

Refrain

All to Jesus, I surrender;
Lord, I give myself to Thee;
Fill me with Thy love and power;
Let Thy blessing fall on me.

Refrain

All to Jesus I surrender;
Now I feel the sacred flame.
O the joy of full salvation!
Glory, glory, to His Name!

"I Surrender All" by Judson W. Van DeVenter (1896)

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