“Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time.” – Mark 15:44
Joseph of Arimathea came to Pilate asking for the body of Jesus, that he might bury Jesus properly. Pilate marveled because he was surprised Jesus was dead already, within 6 hours of being hung on the cross. It has been documented that victims of crucifixion lingered for several days before they actually died. To confirm it was true, Pilate asked for confirmation from the Centurion who was in-charge of the crucifixion to verify it. He confirmed it was so.
Jesus did not linger for several days because He had power over death. In John 10:18 Jesus said, “No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” Death did not take Him, He gave Himself over to it on His timetable and for His purpose…for the sins of the world.
Right before Jesus “gave up the ghost”, He cried out in a loud powerful voice. The Centurion overseeing the crucifixion was amazed that Jesus was able to do this after the intense suffering He has already endured. This man had probably seen many people die this way but never any like Jesus. The strength that Jesus showed was unheard of for a crucified victim. As soon as Jesus stopped breathing, the centurion said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!”
Church tradition holds that this centurion accepted Jesus into His life as Lord and Savior. If that is so, it is a great testimony to us as Christ followers that lifting up Jesus before others can change the hearts and lives of anyone. May we never forget that and may we never stop proclaiming His death, burial and resurrection. We may have a “centurion” in our life that we are ministering to.