An Audio Monologue for Good Friday
The Centurion’s Perspective
Based on Mark 15:39
“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!” (Mark 15:39 NIV)
Many different types of people witnessed Jesus’ Crucifixion and were affected by it. One person in the gospels who paints a vivid picture of the emotions that day, while saying only a few words is the centurion at the foot of the cross.
The following audio is a monologue which aims to help us envisage what may have been going through the centurion’s mind at that time. You will also find a transcript below. I hope this will help you in your Good Friday reflections, as we remember the day when Christ died for our sins. It is “by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)
Monologue - The Centurion's Perspective
Monologue – The Centurion’s Perspective (Transcript)
His supporters were in tears as the people lined the streets to watch Jesus carry his cross to the place of the skull. Skull is the right word for that place because I’ve seen so much death there. The floggings and beatings take their toll after a while. All I can do to make sense of it all is to remember that those we crucify are criminals and worthy of their punishment. Yet this time it seems different.
Oh, yes, some elements are still the same, the mocking and jeering crowds, coming out to see the show, the criminals falling to the ground under the weight of the cross beams. The shouting and the humiliation of the event. The sense of vitriol as the people get their own back on the ones who had cheated them, as the convicted shout their insults back as a last-ditch attempt to justify themselves.
Yet, again, this was different. Jesus barely said anything at all, and this gave the whole affair a different atmosphere. He took up his cross as if it was a duty, a job that he had come to do. He didn’t fight the crowd but seemed intent to see the day through as if he was a centurion himself.
I knew that later that day, I would have my chance to hurl insults, as my fellow soldiers often did. But I have to admit that I was also slightly apprehensive at staring this man in the face whose eyes seemed to pierce the depths of my soul, every-time he glanced in my direction.
As they put the nails into place and lifted Jesus between the thieves either side of him, I could only stand and watch in discomfort. I knew the men beside Jesus, or at least, I knew what they had done. Like regular criminals, one of them began to mock Jesus, who had been given a sign above his head reading, “King of the Jews!” “Save yourself and us!” he jeered, and yet Jesus didn’t open his mouth. To my surprise, the second thief turned his head weakly towards the first, and after defending Jesus’ honour, he turned to look at Jesus himself, saying, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” Jesus looked straight at the man as if reunited with a long-lost son, and with a slight upward curl of his mouth, he reassured the dying man with the words, “Truly, today you will be with me in paradise.”
In all of his interactions on the cross, Jesus never once cursed the people. Instead, he cried out to God as “Father,” pleading that he forgive his oppressors as those who “know not what they do.”
The only time where Jesus seemed different was when he cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!”
Could this be the Messiah of which the Jewish people spoke? Could Jesus be their King? What now for us? If this was the case, what would their God do now that we had put his chosen Saviour to death? A cold chill went right up my spine.
Jesus appeared weak at this point, and his eyes were starting to close. It was with his final breath that he proclaimed, “Father, into your hands, I commit my Spirit.” And then, he died.
Suddenly the whole sky went dark, and I fell to the ground in fear. Then I heard screaming from the City, which I later found out was because the vast curtain in the Temple had torn from top to bottom.
Thinking that my services might soon be required, I stood to my feet again and looking up at Jesus, I spontaneously vocalised my thoughts, “Surely, this man was the Son of God!”
Some thoughts, there. Based on the words of the Centurion in Mark’s Gospel. These are the words we would usually echo on Good Friday, as we take part in the walk of witness. So, please take a moment, after this audio finishes, to consider the claim of the Centurion for yourself.
“Surely, this man was the Son of God!”
In Christ Alone
In Christ alone my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when striving cease!
My comforter, my all in all,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone who took on flesh,
fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
scorned by the ones he came to save
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
the wrath of God was satisfied
for every sin on him was laid;
here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground his body lay,
light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
up from the grave he rose again!
And as he stands in victory
sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
for I am his and he is mine
bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life no fear in death,
this is the power of Christ in me;
from life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
can ever pluck me from his hand;
til he returns or calls me home,
here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.
Author: Stuart Townend