Mark 15:39; Matthew 27:54; Luke 23:47 – Yeshua Dies



“When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:39).

“Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Yeshua, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!”” (Matthew 27:54).

“Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, ‘Certainly this man was innocent’” (Luke 23:47).

reproduced from Salvation on the Line, Volume I

The death of Yeshua triggered some rather significant phenomenon, as the sky had grown dark in the middle of the afternoon (Luke 23:45a). The Lord issued a loud cry with His final breath, “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT [Psalm 31:5]” (Luke 23:46; cf. Mark 15:37; Matthew 27:50). At this moment, two groups of people have something communicated to them. The veil in the Temple, separating out the Holy of Holies, rips in two (Mark 15:38; Matthew 27:51a; Luke 23:45b), something that any of the Jewish priests present would have noticed, and probably anyone else present. Likewise, the Roman centurion attending to Yeshua’s crucifixion recognizes, at the earthquake which ensues, as he states in Luke 23:47, “Certainly this man was innocent.” Matthew also records a later sign, of how “many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many” (Matthew 27:52-53). While certainly a mystery to be pondered, we can safely speculate that those who were raised to life here were some of the recently deceased.

Significant questions are raised from the exclaim of the Roman centurion who witnessed the death of Yeshua. In Mark 15:39 we see, alēthōs houtos ho anthrōpos huios Theou ēn, “Truly, this Man was Son of God” (LITV), followed in Matthew 27:54 with, alēthōs Theou huios ēn houtos, “Truly this One was Son of God” (LITV).[1]

Much has been debated by the centurion’s conclusion of Mark 15:39 and Matthew 27:54. In both passages, Theou or “of g/God” is in the singular. It would be quite impossible to render this with “Truly this was a son of the gods,” with the supernatural activities manifested somehow demonstrating that Yeshua was the offspring of mythological gods and goddesses. The testimony of Luke 23:47, in fact, is that “when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God” (American Standard Version). Contextually, readers are to understand this as being the One God of Israel or YHWH, and not Zeus or Jupiter.

Without reading too much into centurion’s declaration in Mark 15:39 and Matthew 27:54, it would seem reasonable that at the time of Yeshua’s death, and with significant natural and supernatural events taking place—that the centurion recognized that the Yeshua or Iēsous he was crucifying, was an important figure to be associated with Israel’s God. And indeed, recognizing the God of Israel as the True Creator is the first step that many pagans have to go through, before they can begin evaluating who or what the “Son of God” is, in association with this Deity.


[1] It is safe to say that the Roman centurion could indeed have spoken this dialogue in Greek, upon witnessing the death of Yeshua.