Mark 15:39 “When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “This man really was God’s Son!”(HCSB)
We are often called to greater faith by many and I think we would all agree that greater faith is needed. But how? Does the command to increase faith, increase faith? Beloved, in our passage we have the most essential thing needed for our confidence in God to increase. Notice this soldier’s confession of faith that he speaks with great conviction. It says when this soldier saw the way Jesus breathed His last He said because of the way Jesus died, surely this man was God’s Son. We learn something vital here in that faith comes from seeing Jesus dying on a cross! We are not to look to faith, our own hearts, or even to the general truths of God’s word, we are to look to a dying Savior! Faith is the byproduct of looking away from yourself towards the marvel of a dying God-man! You see a Savior dying the sinner’s death for the sinner is the very thing which creates faith and so often we are so stuck in unbelief because we do not look at the very person who gives us reason to trust. Could you imagine how silly it would be if this man were to pick up a mirror at the foot of the cross and begin looking at Himself in order to feel better about himself? Let us stop talking about more faith and sit under the shadow and look at the way Jesus died miraculously for sinners! Let us stop obsessing over what the cross produces and look to the cross itself, which produces faith, love and life!We look to our works, we look to our feelings, we look to our sincerity, we are examining ourselves constantly, we look at how many religious things we do, we compare ourselves to others and on and on it goes. Brother, sister! Faith comes from looking to the way our Savior died not by looking at yourself underneath the shadow of His death. Could you imagine how silly it would be if this man were to pick up a mirror at the foot of the cross and begin looking at Himself in order to feel better about himself? Let us stop talking about more faith and sit under the shadow and look at the way Jesus died miraculously for sinners! Let us stop obsessing over what the cross produces and look to the cross itself, which produces faith, love and life!
Look at the way Jesus died because it is a death like no other! He died pronouncing forgiveness to His enemies not His friends because He was forsaken and crushed by the Father for His enemies. He died telling a man that was dying for capital crimes next to Him that he would immediately be in paradise—outside of anything that he could or would do--solely because He was dying His death. He died with a shout of power and triumph showing us that this death was not the death of an unsuccessful man but rather the sovereign planned death of the God-man laying down His life on His own for us! Jesus died as a righteous man of pure and perfect love for people like this man who was immediately responsible for His death. Do you not believe that this is God’s Son when you, being the very person responsible because of what you did for His death, are given grace and life and love by Jesus taking your responsibilities and burying them in the cross and saying it is finished? Look at the way Jesus died! The earth shook, the graves were opened, the curtain which separates man and God was ripped from the top down and a sinful man who was involved in the torture of Jesus was brought to the declaration of faith which said, “Truly this is the Son of God!”