When the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Inspiration is an important part of the Christian life. The word inspire literally means to have a spirit come into you—and for Christians that means having the Holy Spirit in you. In the ancient biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek) the word meaning “inspire” was also related to breathing, since they used the same word for “spirit” as for “breath.”
In this passage Mark does something interesting with this concept. Mark says that Jesus “breathed his last,” and the Greek word for this (ekpneo) is different from the usual word used for “spirit” and “breath” (pneuma). Ekpneo literally means “expired,” as in “breathed out” or “let out his Spirit.”
At first this may seem like just another way of saying that Jesus died. But then Mark tells us that a centurion was standing in front of Jesus—right where Jesus’ last breath was aimed. And something interesting happens to this Roman commander, who probably didn’t even believe in the God of the Jews. The centurion exclaims, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
The centurion caught the Spirit—he was inspired. And when he caught the Spirit, he knew clearly who Jesus really was. Jesus was more than a great person, a prophet, or even a king. Jesus was God’s own Son—the Savior of the world.
Dear Jesus, you are the Son of God. Please put your Holy Spirit into us today so that we can be inspired to live as you lived. Amen.
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