Day 40: Deity
“When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely He was the Son of God’” (Matthew 27:54).
A centurion was a battle-hardened soldier, and this one, given his role on the execution squad, would have been harder than most. The fact that he and his companions were afraid—terrified—says much, but then we add to that the conclusion he draws, “Surely He was the Son of God.” This was unusual, indeed. But just as God announced and revealed the coming of His Son to a cast of unusual characters, the fact that a Roman centurion could recognize the Son of God when Jesus’ own countrymen missed it–the ones steeped in the Scriptures that heralded His mission for centuries before His arrival–would seem to be in keeping with God’s ways.
We saw that the Messianic expectations were not looking for a suffering servant, but were they prepared for a divine servant? Their concept of God was (and still is among practicing Jews) that God is singular. While we, as Christ-followers believe there is one God, we believe He has revealed Himself in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—all one God. But our beliefs did not spring out of a “good idea” someone had—for who really would come up with something that is so beyond our understanding that it is difficult to explain?
Prophecies which speak to the deity of the Messiah include: “I will make Him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth” (Psalm 89:27). Isaiah said that He would be called, “Mighty God” and “Everlasting Father.” Micah said He will be the “Ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Even the Wise Men, when they received their revelation through the star said they had come to worship Him—not something one does unless there is an understanding of deity.
The problem with being confronted with this God-in-their-face was that to acknowledge His deity they would then have to obey what He said. The fact that they were at odds with Him for almost His entire ministry, with Him calling them out for their hypocrisy, disobedience, false religion, lack of grace, and total misunderstanding of the heart of God, made Him a God they could not acknowledge. They were too comfortable with their sin, and too proud.
• God still confronts us with who He is and His claims on our lives. Where do you struggle with this confrontation?
• If Jesus is God, He demands our full obedience. Where are you more willing to receive Him as Savior than submit to Him as Lord?
Lord, be just that to me—God and Lord, sovereign in my life. Show me where I am not allowing that, where I am being rebellious. Open my eyes, too, to where You are in the Scriptures, waiting for me to discover more about You—Whispers of Redemption that show me who You are and what pleases You.
by Sheri Cook, Director of Special Ministries
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