“When the Roman officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshipped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.” And when all the crowd that came to see the crucifixion saw what had happened, they went home in deep sorrow.”
Have you ever done something so bad that had huge consequences, then after you do it, you are filled with an immeasurable amount of shame, guilt and remorse? Maybe not, but there are plenty of people throughout the Bible who had. One such man was the Roman officer, commissioned to oversee Jesus’ crucifixion. We may not know a lot about this man but based on Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s accounts of Jesus’ final moments, we can assume that this man knew he had made a big mistake in executing, not just an innocent man, but as Matthew records in 27:54, “..the Son of God!”
As Jesus breathed His last breath the Heavens mourned for the Only Begotten Son of God. There was an earthquake, the skies were turned black, and the curtains of the temple tore in two. There was chaos. This had never happened before after someone had been crucified. Was it a coincidence? What is a natural phenomenon? No! It was the pains of the Son of Man dying and at the same time the victory cries that what Jesus set out to do had been completed.
These events caused such a stir, that many people began to question, ‘did we just call for the head of an innocent man?’ Even the crowds, who a week earlier had rejoiced in Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem on a colt with palm trees and songs of praise, who then called for Jesus’ crucifixion with such hatred, seemed to also be filled with great remorse as they went home with “..deep sorrow.” We can also recall the story of when the resurrected Jesus met two His followers on the road to Emmaus and told Jesus that He must be “the only person in Jerusalem who hasn’t heard about all the things that have happened…” in the last few days.
Jesus’ death and resurrection still causes shocks today. Opinion is divided as people recall the event of 2000 years ago. Some people, like the Roman officer, feel remorse for their sins and realise that what Jesus did on the cross was for them. Others ignore what He did. Yet for those who do accept, great joy and freedom await. What will you choose?