This morning I decided to go on a jog near my neighborhood. About halfway through my run I realized that I was heading in the wrong direction and so I proceeded to do a complete 180 and began running in the right direction. On my new corrected path I noticed I was running towards the beautiful morning sun that had just recently bursted forth into the morning sky. This little course correction gave me a picture of repentance. Repentance is a rich biblical concept that means to change your mind. A true change of mind results in a change of direction. Repentance that leads to salvation is a change of direction where your life is about running towards the Son, Jesus Christ.
As I was thinking about today, Good Friday, I was reminded about a little moment that occurs at the foot of the cross as Jesus breathes his last, the veil of the temple is torn in two, and the earth quakes. This moment occurs in Matthew 27 where it says, “54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!” Perhaps this Roman Centurion experienced one of those moments in his life where he realized that maybe he had been running in the wrong direction and perhaps this man that he had been guarding was no ordinary man. As a centurion he was a well-respected and a proven soldier as he would have been in charge of 100 other Roman soldiers. As crucifixion was a very common execution method in those days, he had probably witnessed hundreds of these before. Yet, as he gazed upon this man and for 6 hours heard words like ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they are doing’ he and some of his fellow guards were changed.
I want to challenge you to take a moment and gaze upon that same scene in your mind and imagination today. Never has there been a more powerful scene where the hatred of man faced off with the love of God. And at the end of the day God’s love proved triumphant! Maybe today is a day that you can allow this scene of the cross to challenge every area of your life and ask God if there are any places where you need a course correction to be more fully running towards the Son! Maybe today is a day that you think of others in your neighborhood, work, etc that you can invite to an Easter service and allow them a moment like the Centurion had to gaze upon the amazing life of Jesus Christ!