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Fresh Thoughts From The Cross - Part 3
Paul David Guidry's picture

The Roman Captain Gets it. The crowds do not.

I have read this passage more times than I can count. Last week I read this passage again several times leading up to our Good Friday gathering at The Bridge Metrowest. Four fresh thoughts popped in my head as I read the story of the cross again! Here is the third of four:

Luke 23:44-49 (The Passion Translation)

It was now only midday yet the whole world became dark for three hours as the light of the sun faded away! Then suddenly in the temple, the thick veil hanging in the Holy Place was ripped in two! Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice—“Father, I surrender My Spirit into Your hands!” And He took His last breath and died. When the Roman captain overseeing the crucifixion witnessed all that took place, he was awestruck and began to glorify God! Acknowledging what they had done, he said, “I have no doubt; we just killed the Righteous One!”  And the crowds that had gathered to observe this spectacle went back to their homes overcome with deep sorrow, and were totally devastated by what they had witnessed! But standing off at a distance were some who truly knew Jesus and the women who had followed Him all the way from Galilee were keeping vigil. 

They all saw the signs and wonders. Many in the crowd had been drawn out by the resurrection of Lazarus. As Jesus hung on the cross, the light left the sky, the earth shook and the ground opened up. It was a crazy scene! Everyone witnessed the same signs. Yet, the Roman captain, one who was submitted to pagan practices, “gets” it. The crowds, who had seen many more signs, wonders and evidence than the Roman, do not. They miss it. 

The contrast in response is astounding to me. The Roman witnesses all that is going on and realizes something significant had just happened. Then, this man of authority, gives glory to God! He worships! And he declares, “I have no doubt! We just killed the Righteous One!” The crowds, who had hoped for Messiah all along, go home. 

The Roman gives glory to God. The crowds get depressed. The Roman directs His attention outward. The crowds direct their attention inward. The Captain has a praise party. The crowds have a pity party. 

We all have the opportunity to behold the same glory. But our response to God will shift depending on where we fix our gaze. We can be bedazzled by the stuff of God or we can see through the stuff of God and see the heart of the Father. We can be religious about what we think is supposed to happen in our lives or we can be like the Roman and realize the presence of God in the midst of the present circumstance. I love His glory but I want to know His heart!

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