Pastor Darrin Ronde
March 10, 2016
Last Sunday’s message sparked some interest in the identity of the Roman Centurion who witnessed Jesus’ death on the cross and affirmed him as the Son of God (Luke 23:47). In Catholic Church history, there’s a legend that this Roman soldier was named Longinus and had an eye ailment. When his spear pierced the side of Christ to validate his death, some of the blood and water sprayed out onto his eyes and miraculously healed them. Shortly after, he stood guard over the tomb where Jesus was buried and resurrected. The Jewish leaders tried to bribe him and his men to spread a claim that the body of Jesus had been stolen from the tomb, but they refused.
The story says that Longinus and some of his comrades were baptized by the Apostles and left their military positions to preach the gospel. The former centurion returned to his homeland of Cappadocia and led many to faith in Christ. He was eventually hunted down and beheaded as a martyr. Some versions of the story are truly macabre. For example, one account says a blind woman dug through a trash heap to find the head of Longinus and when she touched it, was instantly healed.
We’re used to Hollywood taking fragments of truth and building an elaborate story that is largely fiction. They’ll protect themselves by saying, “Based on real events” or something like that. We are seeing a lot of ‘biblical’ movies in recent years, like Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and more recently Risen and Young Messiah. I think these movies have a value is we look at them as family-friendly entertainment. But if we are searching to have our faith strengthened, you need to stick with what is known to be true! The Apostle John told us that what we have in the Bible is sufficient to establish and grow our faith.
30 Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.
Enjoy the legends and movies, but build your faith on the clear and solid revelation of God’s Word!