And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” Mark 15:39
It’s pretty easy to tell how old a person is by talking to them about “watershed moments.”
Most of the Daily Devotion listeners or readers will remember where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the planes hitting the World Trade Center. Those who are older will be able to recall their situation when they first were told about President Kennedy being shot in Dallas. Those who have celebrated their 65th birthday can recall their activities on the December morning when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Those are watershed moments, events that are part of us and shape our thinking and lives.
Recently, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of such a watershed moment. On October 4, 1957, America was shocked when the Russians put Sputnik, the first satellite, into orbit around the earth. Not much larger than a beach ball, able to do little more than send back little beeps, Sputnik upset our apple cart.
With a foreign-made object regularly slashing through our skies, Americans realized the oceans would no longer protect them from foreign aggression. “After all,” the thinking went, “if Russia can place a satellite over our heads, she can put a missile up there, too.” Sputnik was a watershed event, which ignited America’s desire to be first in the space race, the arms race, the missile race, and every other race. It was a matter of pride –and protection.
When I look through Scripture, I see many such watershed moments. When Moses took off his sandals in front of Sinai’s burning bush, that was a watershed moment. When the jailer at Philippi didn’t fall on his sword, that was a watershed moment. When the ladies went to Jesus’ tomb on Easter morning, they had a watershed moment, too. One of the most special watershed moments I see in Scripture happens to the unnamed centurion who stood at Jesus’ cross. A hardened soldier, used to pain and death, the representative of Rome was impressed by the way Jesus had died. He was impressed enough to confess, “Truly, this man was the Son of God!” It was a watershed moment for him, as it has been for millions. It needs to be for millions more.
Today, I ask you to think of one person in your life who needs to stand before Jesus’ cross, who ought to gaze into His open tomb, who needs to see the risen Savior. Today, ask the Lord to send His Holy Spirit upon this special person. Ask God to soften a heart, call a lost sinner, and grant a watershed moment to your friend.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, I have seen great events of history –events that have changed my life. But only the great story of the Savior: His life, death, and resurrection can change my eternity. Today, I pray that (NAME OF YOUR FRIEND) can be granted a watershed moment and be brought to faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, his Savior. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries