Sunday, 14th March 10.30 am East Church Order of Service

HYMN Were you there when they crucified my Lord




READING – Mark 15:21—47. The Crucifixion of Jesus

SERMON – The Centurion


HYMN My Redeemer Lives


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The whole service goes like this:

Inverness East Church Service

Sunday 14th March 2021

HYMN Were you there when they crucified my Lord




READING – Mark 15:21—47. The Crucifixion of Jesus

21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.

27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. [28] 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

The Burial of Jesus

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.


For the few minutes that remain to us this morning, I want us to think about the centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion. Almost certainly he was a Roman — he’d probably been a soldier for a number of years, for now he was in charge of 100 men. We cannot say a lot for certain about this particular soldier, but there are a number of general things which we might safely deduce about him:

1) He was a military and a precise man. So that in vv 44 & 45 when Pilate asks if Jesus is dead so soon — this centurion has no hesitation in saying “YES – Jesus is dead”. He was very good at his job — no mistakes could be made.

  1. 2.I think we might also say that this centurion was a hard and a cruel man. Just think of some of the jobs that he had to do — especially crucifying a man — driving those nails into the flesh of another human being — often being told to whip a man with a cat o nine tails — leather thongs with lead tied into them.

Add to that the fact of the beating that Jesus Himself had just – before His crucifixion —and then , we learn from John 19 that the soldiers were ordered to break the legs of the two criminals — and when they came to Jesus they stuck a spear through His side. Oh, yes, this was a hard and cruel man.

3) Thirdly I think we must also say that he was a religious man. Oh not in the sense that he worshipped the Living God — I imagine that he worshipped the Roman gods —Zeus and the rest of the Roman pantheon. BUT ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY something in that man CHANGED. There was something in the dying moments of Jesus that transformed this hard Roman soldier.

Luke 23:47 says that he praised God (i.e. the True God) and said ‘surely this was a righteous man’. Matthew adds (27: 51 & 54) that there was an earthquake just as Jesus died and the centurion was terrified and said; ‘Surely He was the Son of God’. And Mark records the same words SURELY THIS MAN WAS THE SON OF GOD.

Now I want us in closing just to think about that phrase —referring to Jesus as the Son of God — it is something which is commonplace nowadays, but was it then?

The answer has to be NO. WHO actually called Jesus The Son of God ? You might be surprised to hear what my research has shown.

As you might expect — two of the evangelists (Mark and John) refer to Jesus as the Son of God.

The angel promised the virgin Mary that her son would be the Son of the Most High God.

Jesus Himself hardly ever used the term of himself (he preferred son of man) — although in His last days He makes clearer what He had earlier made allusion to that He was indeed the Son of God (Jn 5:25; 10:36; 11:4)

Two of the disciples call Him the Son of God (Peter — Mt.16:16 —You are the Christ the Son of God and interestingly, one of the disciples of whom we read very little — Nathaniel!— in Jn. 1:49 when Jesus called him to follow him.)

In Jn. 11:27 Martha calls Jesus the Son of God — just before Jesus raised her brother Lazarus from the dead.

And in Mt. 14:33 the disciples call Him the Son of God after He calmed the storm.

BUT ALL THE OTHER REFERENCES to Jesus being the Son of God come from the enemy camp !!

It is levelled against Jesus as an accusation in Jn. 19:7 & Mt. 27:40 & 43 — cf the High priest’s question in Mt 26:63 (Jesus said YES).

The Devil calls Him the Son of God in Mt 4:3&6 — & AT LEAST FIVE TIMES the demons call Him this – i.e most of the references are from the ENEMY.

That should make us think – what do we read in James 2:19 “Even the demons believe … and TREMBLE.

The soldier saw it, Jesus friends saw it, even Jesus’ enemies saw it – do you ? Jesus is the very Son of God – God Himself – is He YOUR God ?!


HYMN My Redeemer Lives


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