Roman soldiers are known for their Discipline, Duty, Dignity, Loyalty, Obedience to authority when Roman Empire was a Superpower. The Centurion saw a surcharged atmosphere: women wailing, soldiers were jeering, unruly mob cheering as their chosen ‘Barabbas’ was released and Lord Jesus was crucified, a thief mocking, and another praying.
He was not comfortable with gambling; he could have taken the garment of Lord Jesus as his right. According to Mark, he stood in front of Lord Jesus not with his soldiers. He could not identify with the mob. Professionally, he cannot be with the grieving family and friends too.
Centurion observed: Lord Jesus Christ was not ‘guilt ridden’ as many criminals who have committed crime in a moment of anger or frustration. He had never seen a person praying to God addressed as ‘Father’ for enemies and forgiving his tormentors. (Luke 23:34) It was unthinkable, as criminals curse one and all for their misery; while Lord Jesus did not. Gentleness of Lord Jesus was exhibited by his tender care for mother. (John 19:26-27) Confidence, dignity, authenticity and authority of Lord Jesus Christ as King of Kings was evident from the assurance for Kingdom of God to thief. (Luke 23:42-43) The Centurion had never witnessed such Darkness for three hours with earthquake in his lifetime. (Matthew 26:45, Mark 15:43) Lord’s sense of accomplishment and victory cry was unique: “It is Finished” (John 19:30) The serenity and peace with which Lord Jesus gave up his spirit touched the heart of the centurion.
Initially, by his observation, the Centurion concluded: “Certainly this man was innocent!” (Luke 23:47) However, he did not stop there. He got revelation from the Father. He declared: “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39 KJV) This statement was public censure of Pontius Pilate and public declaration as representative and spokesperson of Gentiles. Though he has seen nothing but Christ’s sheer misery for 24 hours, he testified and gave highest honour that he could have had for his Caesar.
Do I declare: Lord Jesus as Son of God?