Key Verse: “When the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the spirit, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.”
THE CLOSING SCENES OF Christ’s earthly ministry depict his proven faithfulness under the most extreme series of tests. He traveled to Gethsemane with his disciples and admonished Peter, James and John to be watchful while he went further into the garden to enter into personal communion with the Father, but on several occasions he found them asleep during his hour of need.—Mark 14:34-41
Subsequently, Judas led a crowd, including Roman soldiers, into the garden and kissed the Lord so that he could be identified and arrested. That kiss was a sad symbol of betrayal. Jesus was then taken to Annas for questioning after which he was bound and sent to his son-in-law Caiaphas, the high priest.—John 18:12-16; 19-24
False accusations were made against Jesus, but in fulfillment of prophecy, he did not open his mouth to refute them. “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.” (Isa. 53:7) Under direct questioning, he affirmed he was the Christ, after which he was accused of blasphemy, condemned to death, spat upon and then struck by the temple guard. On the morning of his crucifixion, there was a meeting of the Sanhedrin. From various accounts, it seems that Jesus appeared before Pilate, then Herod, and then Pilate a second time.—John 18:28-38; Luke 23:5-11
“Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing. And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.”—Mark 15:2-5
It was customary at this season for amnesty to be granted by the Romans to one of the Jewish prisoners. Pilate inquired whether the crowd which had assembled desired to have Jesus released, but under the persuasion of the chief priests, they asked for Barabbas, a robber, to be set free and the Lord crucified. (John 18:39,40) Pilate yielded to their expressed wishes, had Jesus beaten, mocked, attired in a purple robe and while wearing a crown of thorns he was saluted as the King of the Jews. Ultimately, he had a laborious walk to Golgotha where he was nailed to a cross and placed between two thieves who also had been condemned to death.—Mark 15:15-28
The agony of Jesus’ experience on the cross for six hours was punctuated by his dying words, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) This utterance attested to the faithful completion of his mission by laying down his life to redeem the condemned race of Adam. A visible manifestation as to the efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice seems to be illustrated in the veil of the Temple being rent from top to bottom at that time, as a new and living way was being opened for dying sinners to obtain life.—Mark 15:33-38
Our Key Verse affirms the centurion’s words which reflect the unmistakable fact that Christ’s enemies refused to acknowledge previously. Truly he was the Son of God!