Monday, January 26, 2015

Short devotion: The First Convert - Mark 15:39

Mark 15:39   And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"

            It’s just a short passage (Mark 15:33-41) and yet it contains a wealth of spiritual inspiration. Jesus cries out His last words from the Cross, which sound like He is surrendering to death and despair. Those below Him misunderstand His words and so they seek to crudely revive Him with some bitter vinegar alcohol. A Roman soldier, on guard duty beneath the Cross, has been observing Jesus throughout His crucifixion. When Christ actually dies, the centurion is a changed man – he believes that Jesus truly was the Son of God.

            What seemed like utter defeat is turned into a glorious victory at that pivotal moment in history. The centurion becomes the first converted sinner at the Cross after Christ’s death. He is also symbolic of what was yet to come – the Roman Empire that he represents will eventually reach the same conclusion about Jesus. It will take three hundred years, but the end result will be the same. The Roman Empire of the Caesars will give way to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

            Individually, we all face the same pivotal moment. At some point in our lives, we have to deal with Jesus. For some, He will remain just another teacher who was unlucky to be crudely crucified for reasons of political expediency. For billions of others on Earth, He will be personally known as the Son of God, who saved humanity from a fate worse than death – a terrifying fate of being eternally separated from God, our Creator.

Question:      Who is Jesus in my life? If I claim Him to be the Son of God, how will that realization affect my deeds and decisions today?

Prayer:          Lord Jesus, open our hearts and minds to Your reality. Reveal to us Your Divine status and then challenge us to truly serve You today. Guide our decisions and allow us to be at one with You. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

John Stuart is the pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to make comments or ask questions about today’s message, please send him an email to

Today’s image is one of John’s latest digital glass drawings for Pentecost. It’s called “Spirit Descending.” If you would like to view a larger version of the image, please click here: Spirit.

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