April 28 Unlikely Praise


Image by Brandon Johnson

Judges 8:18-9:21;  Luke 23:44-24:12;  Psalm 99:1-9;  Proverbs 14:9-10

“Then Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”  And having said this he breathed his last.  Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!”  Luke 23:46-47

“I was assigned the detail at the request of Pilate.  I wasn’t sure at the time why he determined I should be there.  Looking back, I think it was because he wanted my “take” on the whole ordeal–one that he had been reluctantly a part of.

Pilate had heard stories about this Jewish rabbi–perhaps even the one that had been circulating among the ranks.  A fellow centurion, earlier that year, had asked Jesus to heal his paralyzed servant.  I can tell you from experience that when we who are in authority say, “Go” , those under us don’t think twice–they go!  That’s how disciplined we Romans are.

Jesus was quite impressed with the confidence my centurion comrade had in Jesus’ ability to just say the word.  He didn’t insist that Jesus even go to his home.  He knew Jesus could just speak and it would be done!

And it was!  The servant was healed the very moment Jesus spoke.

That was some authority!  We were all impressed.

And now, this same Jesus whose stories of healing and miracles swirled around him, this same Jesus who stood before Pilate taking great abuse from his own people and now from the Romans–defended not his innocence!  He had authority, but he didn’t use it.

As I watched him on the cross his very last words were spoken loud and clear and with authority, “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit!”

I didn’t understand why, but I knew that this Jesus was more than a man.

I pray to God that one day I’ll understand!

In the meantime, Pilate won’t believe…”

Lord God, thank you for the eyes of faith that let me see why Jesus had to die on the cross.  Thank you for faith that let’s me see myself as I truly am–a redeemed sinner, cleansed by Christ’s blood.  Lord, I pray for those who have yet to see the meaning of the Cross.  I pray that your Word and Holy Spirit’s witness speak with authority to open the hearts of unbelievers.  Thank you for the testimony of the Centurion who praised you and your Son’s innocence.  May I faithfully do the same.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.




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