Surely this man was the Son of God!

Pastor Ino

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Today’s message title is from Mark 15:39, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” These words were spoken by the centurion, a Roman soldier who witnessed the cross of Jesus from beginning to end. It is believed that this centurion served the governor Pilate sent from Rome and had a good understanding of what kind of person Pilate was. There is a word called opportunistic, and it seems that Governor Pilate was that kind of person. Pilate stayed in that position from 26 to 36 AD, and he was forced to be out of his job due to his repeated misgovernment. Mark 15:1-15 records the trial of Jesus under Pilate. Especially in verses 14 and 15, even though he knew that Jesus was the righteous man, he decided to release the Barabbas and order Jesus to be crucified, because he wanted to please the crowd. Opportunism is a way of life of being in more advantageous side, but it seems that this Pilate was such a governor. Originally, this governor had the right to appoint the Jewish high priest and also had the jurisdiction of the citizens, so he should have been able to correct the mistake of the high priest.

Now let’s see how Jesus was crucified. In verse twenty-four, “And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.” (Mark 15:24) The executioner took the prisoner’s clothes as a benefit and this was also the fulfillment of the prophecy in Psalm 22:18. The written notice of charge against him said, “The King of the Jews.” Which was written in verse 26. Jesus was executed as an anti-Roman political offender. Along with the two robbers, in between Jesus was crucified and was insulted by many. That is written in Mark 15:22-32. In addition, Luke 23:34 records Jesus’ first prayer on the cross. Please open this passage and read it for yourself. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” The centurion heard this powerful, loving prayer of Jesus. Following this prayer, Luke records the criminal’s words on the cross. Please read Luke 23:39-45. One of the criminals who hung there insulted Jesus, but the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”」
The centurion heard this impressive word of Jesus that promises a paradise. In the middle of Jesus’ suffering taking all the sins of mankind on the cross, the words of Jesus, full of love, remained in the heart of this centurion. By the way, the word “paradise” can be used to refer to the heaven of God.

Next, please open John 19:26-27. Jesus on the cross was creating a new fellowship. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. As believers, the mother and the disciple were able to make decisions that they could only make because they loved Jesus.

In Mark 15:33-38, it’s written “At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The darkness came over and the fear of the disconnection of Jesus and the Father covered the whole earth. The fear of God’s judgment upon Jesus, who bears the sins of mankind, covered the whole earth. In verse 37, it says “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.” In verse 38, 「The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.」This curtain separates the sanctuary from the Most Holy place, and the Most Holy Place is where the presence of God overflows. Only the high priest was allowed to enter this most holy place once a year. The fact that the temple curtain was torn means that Christ’s Redemption on the Cross allows those who believe in Jesus to come before the presence of God. Hebrew 10:19 says,「Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,」
Luke 23:44-47 says「 The sun stopped shining… Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.”」
This is how Luke records the same passage as Mark’s.

Today, we saw the passage of Jesus being crucified and redeeming of sins, we also read Jesus praying for us, and working for reconciliation. And the title of today’s message was from the confession of faith of the centurion, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” What confession do you give by witnessing the cross? I want to give thanks to Christ as a believer who shares the confession of faith saying “Surely this was a righteous man.”, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”