Voices of the Passion and Easter - the Centurion

I have imagined the reactions and thought processes of those people involved in the Good Friday and Easter narrative.

I hope that it will assist you to meditate on these events with fresh thoughts.

I was invited as an observer by the captain of the Jewish temple guard as they were going to arrest a troublemaker – an agitator against the Roman Empire and a religious upstart.

I was half-expecting a man on the verge of madness or wanting His followers to have blood upon their swords. Instead, I saw a man who was in control of the situation, so much so that when He identified Himself the guard fell back. He ordered His followers to put away their swords, as His character seemed to be one of peace and love.

The next time I saw Him was after the pre-trial undertaken by the Jewish religious leaders. He was passed to my cohort to be conducted to Pilate for confirmation of His capital sentence, as the religious leaders did not have the right to use capital punishment. I could see at close hand that there was something different about this Jesus, something that I had not observed before in any other person.

Despite being bound in chains, He appeared to be freer than the rest of us. Despite being passed from Pilate to Herod and then back to Pilate, it was as though He had already determined the events. He was not going to deviate from the plan that He had developed.

I was intrigued, quizzical about a Man from a backwater country who had as His mission to change the world. I was not usually interested about the religions of the countries where my government sent me to serve, but there was certainly something different going on here.

In the chaos and shouting, He was serene. Even when the religious leaders hired a crowd to call out for Him to be crucified, He knew what was happening. I wanted to know what was going on inside His head, because I had never experienced anything like it before.

When we bound Him to the scouring post and beat Him mercilessly, and when we punctured His wrists and ankles with the rusty nails, there was no utterances of hatred that emanated from His mouth. On the route to Golgotha, there was only concern for the bystanders.

During His time on the cross, I recall the sun hiding at midday – a most unusual occurrence as though a supernatural event was shaking the earth and heavens. During this, Jesus did not speak out curses but spoke out of love and forgiveness. I knew at this stage through all that was happening that He was special, the Promised One that the Jewish prophets had spoken about.

My curiosity had been satisfied and I knew that in His death there was the promise of new life. As Jesus exhaled His last breath and the earth beneath my feet shook violently, I had only one compulsion and that was to shout with all my might: ‘Surely, this was the Son of God!’