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Inspirational Message

Inspirational Message: Centurions Witnessed For Jesus Christ

Centurions were committed to a lifestyle rooted in discipline, authority structures and teamwork. As we read about the biblical centurions in Matthew and Acts we learn how the Roman army gave the centurions the highest rank an ordinary soldier could achieve.

The position was similar to what we know as company commanders. Several centurions are mentioned in the New Testament. Prominent centurions revealed the influence of Jesus Christ’s messages to the people of various social, ethnic and political backgrounds. According to Matthew 8, a centurion came to Jesus pleading for the healing of a paralyzed and dreadfully tormented servant. Jesus miraculously healed this man.

The centurion humbly professed his unworthiness to even have Jesus to come to his house, but he saw that Jesus could speak healing then just as He does presently! The belief of the centurion, who was a man of authority himself, who had soldiers constantly obeying his commands. How did Jesus respond to the centurion’s faith? This great man of authority had expressed unusual faith by declaring that only a word from Jesus would heal his servant!

When Jesus heard it, He marveled surprisingly and said that He had not found such great faith, not even in Israel! This man came to Jesus on behalf of his servant. Humbly, he called Jesus Lord and showed so much faith in declaring that he believed Christ could speak words of healing and his servant would have been made whole. It is amazing to imagine this remarkable event with an authoritative warrior showing great concern for a servant that Jesus healed that same hour!

Let us flash forward to Acts 10 and learn about a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian Regiment. He was a devout believer who feared God with his entire household. He was generous to the people and perhaps prayed often to God. How did the Holy Spirit lead Cornelius to serve God? Peter was used by God to reveal the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and Cornelius believed. Being a prominent Gentile convert, this centurion was appreciated by the Jewish people. Because of the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, Cornelius’ heart was prepared to believe and serve God along with other converts.

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Who was the centurion of the shipwreck of Acts 27-28? How did God use him? Julius, a centurion of the Augustan Regiment, was persuaded by Paul’s teachings to believe in Jesus Christ. This centurion’s plans and instructions saved Paul and other shipmates and delivered everybody to the captain of the guard in Rome. During the shipwreck experiences, he saw the power of God in the miracles that saved them in this life-threatening situation. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, the centurions mentioned in the New Testament were referred to in terms of praise in the Gospel Land in Acts. The Romans credited the centurions for their courage and valor, deliberation, constancy and strong minds. They might have been adventure seekers, but worked as commanders who were reliable and willing to die for a cause! Historical facts set the stage for the appearance of the centurion at the cross of Jesus Christ and for credibility of his words.

The centurion and others with him, who were keeping guard over Jesus, saw the earthquake and other things that were happening. They immediately became frightened and realized that this was God’s Son (Matt 27:45-54). This was the conclusion of a man who had been watching and executing horrible deaths for years. Let us also join the deep thoughts about this message of the cross and see the deity of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!

Mrs. Gladys R. McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.

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