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Friday, April 15, 2022: Good Friday
'Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!” '
The death of Jesus on the cross represented the ultimate victory. While many victims of crucifixion spent their last hours unconscious or in complete and exhausted silence, Jesus remained conscious until the end. John tells us (John 19:30) that Jesus “cried with a loud voice: it is finished”. In the ancient Greek, those three words are condensed into one — tetelestai or “paid in full”.
Jesus was proclaiming that He had paid in full the debt of sin we owed. As He died, the curtain in the sanctuary was torn from top to bottom by God, signifying that man now had access to God directly, not just in a temple built by the hands of man.
The final exclamation by the Roman officer echoes what all believers realize by studying the Gospels. This centurion had obviously been present at scores of crucifixions. The other Gospels tell of earthquakes, rocks splitting apart, and tombs being opened at the death of Jesus. These events and the manner of Jesus’ death were sufficiently unique for the centurion to remove all doubt from his mind and exclaim “This man truly was the Son of God!”
For today’s nonbelievers, there is no crucifixion to witness to remove doubt and disbelief. We can only pray for their salvation, evangelize in the name of Christ, and have hope that someday they’ll come to faith.
As for the believers, we have the joy of knowing what was eloquently stated by Jesus in John 20:29, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”
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