November 7

Text: Matthew 27:54

Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!"  (NASB)

The abnormal frightens us.  It is reasonable to assume that the centurion and the soldiers guarding the crucified Jesus had performed a crucified watch duty previously.  Both by experience and by word of mouth they would know what to expect when such duty occurred.  They would have a basis for determining normal events from abnormal events.

These soldiers were a part of the Roman occupying force in Palestine.  They served in the politically and religiously most sensitive place (Jerusalem) in the occupied region.  They were not novices who were not used to hardship and bloodshed.  They did not scare easily.

With Jesus’ crucifixion the unusual happened.  It was as if the creation rebelled at the unjust death of one involved in the creating (see John 1:2, 3, 10, 11).  It was as if creation realized something that humans failed to see.

A detailed account of everything the Roman soldiers on duty saw was not given.  “The things that were happening” were not specified.  They were witnesses of (at least) the darkness lasting three hours and the earthquake.

These were men who were used to being in control.  They were accustomed to forcing people to react to them and their presence.  They were not accustomed to being helpless witnesses of events over which they had no control.  They could guard the body of the dying Jesus and make certain that no people rescued him.  They could not control the elements—the elements controlled them!

They dare not shirk their task and responsibility!  Thus they personally experienced exposure to all three hours of the darkness and the duration of the earthquake.  In today’s terminology, they were fully in both.  They saw both up close and personally.

The conclusion of all these soldiers: “Truly this was the son of God!”

Suggestion for reflection: Recall an incident when you were reminded, “I am not in control!”  (Read 2 Kings 6:11-23.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell