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!”
I was honored this morning to share with the Team Leaders of the 7th and 8th graders at Camp Exalted (#campexalted2016). Our focus this morning came from Mark. A closer look at our savior on the cross lead to ask the leaders of each group, “What will kids say about you when they leave camp?”
Rapper Kevin Gates has a song that features the answer we seek. Though his agenda is quite different, the answer given is the same that should be spoken of us as people experience us up close and personal. As a youth pastor, I know the question that many children have regarding their elders and youth. They want to know if we are what we teach and what we preach! They want to know if our lives are consistent with our lessons! They want yo know if the rules and laws we present are the ones that guide our lives? And to that, I say, “really really!”
On the cross, a centurion soldier stood facing Jesus! He was close enough to hear every word, every breath, see every drop of sweat, even to see every drop of blood that spewed from his side after piercing him in the side. We witnessed every door of spit spewed from the crowd, heard every insult, saw every stroke of the whip, witnessed the drops from the thorns placed on His head, saw his knees buckle from the weight and physical torture. He heard one thief ridducule him, and participated with those who cast lots for His clothes, only to hear His voice filled with compassion and forgiveness receive a guilty but sincere heart into the Kingdom of heaven.
Upon seeing this, the centurion said, “Surely this man is the Son of God!” In today’s vernacular, he said, “really really!” I want to ask you, what would people say about you?
When people watch you suffer, what type of witness are you? when people consider the type of sacrifice you make? When people consider the offering you give? What would they say? Are people confused by the message that is communicated from the boat and from the cross. Do people see you compassionate while feeding the hungry and in rage while being persecuted? Are you at peace when the money is flowing and in turmoil when the money is scarce? What type of witness are you?
One of the challenges of our faith walk is understanding that we are a witness at all times! Here He is on the cross, and His life is still on display. Even in death He must be like God, so that all He has spoken and stood for might be validated. Our lives are challenged in that people get to know and see us up close and personal. The see us in our most vulnerable states, and while they might previously have turned a deaf ear to you, you consistent witness can at any moment turn their life around!
Let us continue offering our lives as a light for the city. Being consistent in every aspect of our existence. Let us press on, knowing that the life at stake isn’t the one on the cross, but the one watching.