Having zealously sought their will against Jesus, the religious leaders, representing all those throughout the ages who persistently resist God’s will, were finally granted their petition as God gave them over to the darkness of their hearts, as if to say, “Thy will be done”. But as C.S. Lewis noted, although everyone ultimately gets what they really want, not everyone likes what they get. For in surrendering them to their own will, God was at the same time accomplishing His own to take His righteous kingdom away from them and give it to a nation producing its fruit, establishing it upon the chief cornerstone that they themselves had rejected; Mat 21:42-43. The setting of their sun at noon was portended by the darkness that came over the land as Jesus was raised upon the cross, which darkness gave way to the light of the gospel as Jesus yielded up His Spirit to the Father. That Spirit of His life would be returned to Him three days later when He raised Him from the dead, and then poured out from heaven upon those who would follow Jesus in the way of the cross after His ascension 50 days later on the day of Pentecost; cf. Num 11:16-17,25, 2Ki 2:9,15.
Whereas the Jews had rejected Jesus as their Messiah for His claim to be the Son of God (Joh 19:7), as the darkness was turning to light, to whom does Scripture record that the light of the gospel was already dawning? See Mar 15:39. What does Mark say in this verse caused the Roman centurion, who was a Gentile, to proclaim what so many among the Jews refused to believe—those to whom belonged “the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh” (Rom 9:4-5)? Where does Mar 15:39 also say that the centurion was in relation to Jesus as He died so as to have been uniquely positioned to experience it? Although our translations have the centurion proclaiming that Jesus was truly the Son of God, should we understand His profession in the same sense we think of Jesus today as the only begotten Son of the one and only true God? See the NAS text note and note that the Greek text has no definite article. Although he couldn’t have had our same theological understanding that is the product of hundreds of years of careful reasoning based upon the New Testament scriptures that hadn’t even been written, much less collected and canonized, was such a clear profession of Jesus’ divinity any less remarkable, especially in light of its rejection by those who of all people ought to have come to the same conclusion from His many miracles, or at the very least reserved their judgment against Him? Cf. Joh 3:2.
Because the centurion would have seen many people die over the course of his career as a professional soldier so as to become indifferent to the experience, what was it about the way Jesus died that was not only out of the ordinary, but so extraordinary as to proclaim Him divine? See Mar 15:37 and think: what does the centurion’s reaction tell us about there being more to the great cry Jesus let go as He died than just a loud noise, and that was perhaps more spiritually felt than physically heard? Cf. Mat 27:50, Luk 23:46-47, Joh 19:30. See also Mar 15:39 in the KJV that specifically notes that it was way Jesus cried out that caused him to proclaim Him divine. Considering the way the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism and animated His life to teach with authority and perform so many miracles, should we be surprised that the yielding up of that Spirit for the life of the world would have been like none other? Consider also the way the Holy Spirit of Christ was poured out on the day of Pentecost and came with “a noise like a violent rushing wind” (Act 2:2), and note that the word for wind is the same word used for breath, as in the breath of God that gives man life (Gen 2:7); cf. Joh 20:22.
Besides confessing Him divine, what does Luke record the centurion was also inspired to proclaim about Jesus from the spiritual impact His passing had upon him? See Luk 23:47. Who else had proclaimed Jesus innocent that same day? See Luk 23:14,15,41. What does the clear testimony of Jesus’ innocence by two worldly rulers, a dying thief, and a disinterested centurion say about the injustice of Jesus’ death, and the culpability of the Jewish leaders who insisted upon it?
What else does Scripture record happened as Jesus died? See Mar 15:38. Although the veil of the temple being torn asunder could not have been observed by the centurion standing right before Jesus outside the city, what else does Matthew say happened that did contribute to his awe? See Mat 27: 51. Was it just the centurion alone who was awestruck by what he experienced? See Mat 27:54. What do the literal, physical happenings that marked Jesus’ death teach us about spiritual reality being somehow connected to our physical reality? What does this teach us about the great danger in our modern age that supposes only physical things are real and so spiritual things have no bearing on the material world? Although we are conditioned to believe that the spirit is at best a weak, ethereal force, in fact, what does the earthquake and splitting of rocks as Jesus yielded up His Spirit remind us of the actually much greater power of the spirit that this world knows almost nothing about? Cf. Zec 4:6.
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?