This Sunday we hear the story of the Roman Centurion who was in charge of Jesus’ execution. Beside his duty to the Roman Emperor, he may have been devoted to any one of the Roman gods. As far as we can tell, he was ignorant of the living God who created the world, who had a long history of making himself and his plans known to Israel, and who promised to restore this broken world through his chosen Messiah.
Yet when the Centurion watches how Jesus dies, he sees God up close and personal - in the midst of the worst suffering imaginable. It moves him profoundly. We hear his story this Sunday.