Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Who Would Win? Navy Seal or Roman Centurion
The children in our school love to read the "Who Would Win?" books. These books pose imaginary battles between a scorpion and a tarantula, or a rhinoceros and a tiger, or a polar bear and a grizzly?
Allow me to pose another battle: Who would win in a battle between a modern Navy Seal and a first century Roman Centurion? Using the weapons of the first century, I would have to vote in favor of the Centurion. History shows that Centurions were the backbone of the Roman army. They were highly disciplined soldiers who led their troops in battle. They were especially chosen because of the valor they displayed on the battlefield.
The Centurion at the Cross in Mark chapter fifteen has always interested me. His confession, "Truly this man was the Son of God" (15.39) makes me tremble every time I read it. Here was a man who was truly the "hard-core" of the "hard-corps." Yet, his heart was taken captive by the love of God - a different kind of strength! Centurions had their approach to bad men. They made them bleed and die. But Jesus had a different approach to bad men: He bled and died for them! Centurions annihilated evil, Jesus redeemed evil. Which is stronger? Who ultimately wins? Of course it is the love of God in Jesus Christ.
The crucifixion of Jesus brought about several conversions on the first Good Friday. If you're interested, you can read about the others in my Palm Sunday sermon (April 1, 2012).