March 28, 2014

The Son of God

Mark 1:9-11; 9:2-7; 15:39

When the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
—Mark 15:39


The crucifixion story is filled with anguish. Jesus is arrested by violent soldiers, deserted by his followers, betrayed by one of his own disciples, tried by a kangaroo court, condemned by a mob, and crucified at the place of the skull (Golgotha). Then a Roman centurion proclaims him the Son of God! Jesus’ true identity shines through the darkness.

In Mark’s gospel the centurion’s confession of faith parallels two earlier voices from heaven. At Jesus’ baptism God’s voice speaks, “You are my Son, whom I love.” Later the same voice from heaven informs the disciples of Jesus’ identity: “This is my Son, whom I love.” And at the cross the centurion, seeing how Jesus died, said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

The centurion’s words are like a voice from heaven that again confirms that the suffering of the Messiah has been intentional. It is only when we look steadfastly at the cross that we can see the kind of Savior we need.

The centurion was a Gentile. Through his words we can see that the Son of God is for every nation. We need to see how Jesus died and respond with all our heart, “Surely he is the Son of God!” Every day these words should be on the tip of our tongue. Confessing our faith is the most crucial response to our salvation.

Jesus, I proclaim today that you are the very Son of God. May my profession ring through my daily living! For your sake, Amen.

About the author — Dean Deppe

Dean Deppe has been a pastor in inner-city, suburban, and rural ­churches. Currently he teaches New Testament theology at Calvin Theological Seminary. His courses include one on the parables of Jesus. He and his wife have four grown children.

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