Read Matthew 27:45-56

As Jesus hung on a Roman cross the land went dark for three hours. As this darkness ended it was then that Jesus cried out loudly in fulfilment of Psalm 22: ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.’ Having achieved the purpose for which He came and died, He yielded up His spirit.

The first supernatural sign was darkness. Next the curtain was torn in two and last an earthquake prefigured the raising of many dead who appeared to many of Jerusalem’s residents.

It was these signs accompanying Jesus’ death that led the centurion to confess aloud that Jesus was the Son of God.

His confession was that Jesus was the Son of God. This means that Jesus has a unique relationship to the Father that no person shares. He has come from the Father as the Eternal Word to fulfil the purpose of God. What is that purpose? The signs point to it. First, the darkness symbolises the judgement of God. But instead of falling on those guilty of putting the innocent Jesus to death, it fell on the Son Himself. Second, the curtain was torn in two. Through His death, the way is open to the presence of the Father through Jesus the Son. And third, the risen saints point to the last day when those in the tombs will hear the voice of the Son and live eternally in glorified bodies.

Jesus’ cry was the cry of a victor despite His seeming rejection by the Father. Psalm 22 itself points to the fulfilment that Christ’s victory achieved: “all the families of the nations shall worship before (God)” (Ps 22:27). The purpose of God is wider than the historic people of God, the children of Israel. This gentile centurion is the first of many who shall believe from among the nations. So today, people from all nations are looking to the Son of God to be able to call on God as their Father. 

The Church is not Jewish only and it does not centre on the West. Its centre is the throne of the Son of God around which people of all nations ‘worship before Him’. Today the church has as its mission the cry of that Roman centurion in words that still reverberate around the world, ‘Truly this is the Son of God.’ Let us likewise lift up our voices! Let the nations hear and be glad!

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