Luke 23:47
Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
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(47-49) Now when the centurion saw what was done . . .—See Notes on Matthew 27:54-55; Mark 15:40-41. The phrase “glorified God” is, as has been noticed already (Luke 5:25), specially characteristic of St. Luke. The substitution of “this was a righteous man,” for “this was the Son of God,” may, perhaps, have originated in a wish to express the exact measure, and not more, of the sense in which the centurion had used the seemingly higher words.

23:44-49 We have here the death of Christ magnified by the wonders that attended it, and his death explained by the words with which he breathed out his soul. He was willing to offer himself. Let us seek to glorify God by true repentance and conversion; by protesting against those who crucify the Saviour; by a sober, righteous, and godly life; and by employing our talents in the service of Him who died for us and rose again.See the notes at Matthew 27:52-55.Lu 23:47-56. Signs and Circumstances Following His Death—His Burial.

(See on [1739]Mt 27:51-56; [1740]Mt 27:62-66; and [1741]Joh 19:31-42).

Ver. 47-49. For a perfect knowledge of all those things which did happen after our Saviour’s nailing to the cross, till he died, and was taken down to be buried, all the evangelists must be consulted. We have made a collection of them in our notes on Matthew 27:51-56, to which the reader is here referred.

See Poole on "Matthew 27:51", and following verses to Matthew 27:56. This passage about the centurion is taken notice of both by Matthew and Mark; only they say he said, Truly this was the Son of God. Luke saith that he said, Certainly this was a righteous man. Possibly the sense is the same, and the centurion by the Son of God did not mean the Son of God by eternal generation, but one highly favoured of God, a righteous than, and very dear to God, and highly beloved of him; for it must be by a very extraordinary revelation and impression if he, had so early a faith in Christ as God blessed for ever. I think Mr. Calvin, on Matthew 26:54, expounds it well, Non vulgarem esse hominem, sed divinitus excitatum statuit. The centurion determined that Christ was no ordinary person, but one stirred up by and sent of God. It is observable, that Christ had a testimony from all orders of men almost, except the scribes, and priests, and Pharisees. Pontius Pilate and Herod declared him innocent. Pilate’s wife acknowledgeth him a righteous person. The thief on the cross testifieth he had done nothing amiss. Judas the traitor confesseth he had betrayed innocent blood. The centurion owneth him to be no ordinary man, but a righteous man, the Son of God. The multitude always owned him: they see they are now run down; they smite their breasts, say nothing, but depart. Only those that were to have been the teachers of others are blinded and hardened to their ruin. Now when the centurion saw what was done,.... The eclipse of the sun, the darkness upon the land, the earthquake, the rocks rent, and Jesus expire in so uncommon a manner:

he glorified God; by confessing that Christ was the Son of God, and declaring him an innocent person:

saying, certainly, this was a righteous man; clear of the charges exhibited against him, and has suffered wrongfully; and this he concluded from those unusual appearances, and which he considered as tokens of divine resentment.

{15} Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.

(15) Christ, as often as it pleases him, causes his very enemies to give honourable witness that he is right.

Luke 23:47-49. See on Matthew 27:54-56; Mark 15:39-41. τὸ γενόμενον] that which had happened, namely, how Jesus had uttered the last loud cry, and had expired. Comp. Mark 15:39, whom Luke follows. To refer it still further back (even to include also what is narrated in Luke 23:44 f.) is forbidden by the ἐσχίσθη κ.τ.λ., to which ἰδών cannot also refer. The plural expression, however, τὰ γενόμενα, Luke 23:48, has a wider reference, since, in accordance with συμπαραγ. ἐπὶ τ. θεωρίαν ταύτ., it must include the entire process of the crucifixion down to Luke 23:46.

ἐδόξασε τ. θεόν] i.e. practically, by His confession, which redounded to the honour of God. Comp. John 9:24. In this confession, however, δίκαιος (instead of the Son of God in Mark and Matthew) is a product of later reflection.

ἐπὶ τὴν θεωρίαν ταύτ.] objectively: ad hoc spectaculum, as θεωρία (occurring only here in the New Testament) is often applied by Greek writers to plays, public festivals, etc.

τύπτοντες τὰ στήθη] grief (Luke 8:52, Luke 18:13). According to Luke, the people did not, indeed, join in the mockery (Luke 23:35), though they probably chimed in with the accusation and the demand for His death (Luke 23:4-5; Luke 23:13; Luke 23:18; Luke 23:21; Luke 23:23), and hence they prove themselves the mobile vulgus. The special circumstances had made them change their tune.

Luke 23:49. πάντες οἱ γνωστοὶ αὐτῷ] those, to wit, who were present in Jerusalem. Luke alone has this statement, which, however, is so summary that even by the expression ἀπὸ μακρόθεν it does not contradict the narrative of John 19:25.

γυναῖκες] Luke 8:2 f.

ὁρῶσαι τ.] belonging to εἱστήκεισαν.Luke 23:47. ὁ ἑκατοντάρχης, the centurion, in command of the soldiers named in Luke 23:36.—δίκαιος, righteous, innocent; in the parallels he confesses that Jesus is a Son of God. Lk. is careful to accumulate testimonies to Christ’s innocence: first the robber, then the centurion, then the multitude (Luke 23:48) bears witness.47. the centurion] who commanded the quaternion of soldiers. It is remarkable that St Luke gives us several instances of ‘good centurions,’ Luke 7:2, Luke 23:47; Acts 10:1; Acts 22:26; Acts 27:43.

saw what was done] See Mark 15:39; Matthew 27:54.

he glorified God] A notice characteristic of St Luke (Luke 2:20, Luke 5:25, Luke 7:16, Luke 13:13, Luke 17:15, Luke 18:43).

this was a righteous man] This remark might have been drawn forth by the silent majesty and holiness of the Sufferer. After the earthquake he may have added, “Truly this man was a Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). The latter phrase sounds at first incongruous on the lips of a heathen, though ‘Son of God’ is found as a title of Augustus in some inscriptions. But the centurion had twice heard our Lord pray to ‘His Father’ (Luke 23:34; Luke 23:46), and even Pilate had been overpowered by the awful dread lest He should be something more than man (John 19:7-9).Luke 23:47. Ὄντως, in very truth) Previously it seemed a matter of doubt to the spectators: now he affirms it as a certainty.—δίκαιος, a righteous) In this proclaiming (open avowal) of His righteousness, is contained the approval, on the part of the centurion, of all the words of Jesus, even of the doctrine as to Jesus being the Son of God, Luke 23:4; [‘Father,’ implying that He was “Son of God.” Therefore the expression is, “Truly this was the Son of God,” in] Matthew 27:54, inasmuch as this was the very subject about which the discussion had been even before Pilate. John 19:7 [“By our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God”]. Comp. Isaiah 41:26; Isaiah 41:23.[265]

[265] “Who hath declared from the beginning, that we may say, He is righteous?—Show the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods.” This contrasts with the heathen gods Him of whom alone the centurion’s declaration could be made, He is righteous,—E. and T.Verse 47. - Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous Man. This was the Roman officer who was in command of the detachment on guard at the three crosses. St. Paul - who, if he did not absolutely put together the Third Gospel and the Acts, had much to do with the compilation and arrangement of these writings - on his many journeys and frequent changes of residence in different parts of the empire, had many opportunities of judging the temper and spirit of the Roman army, and on several occasions speaks favourably of these officers (Luke 7:2; Luke 23:47; Acts 10:1; Acts 22:26; Acts 27:43). Certainly this was a righteous Man. The noble generosity, the brave patience, and the strange majesty of the Sufferer; the awful portents which for three hours had accompanied this scene - portents which the centurion and many of the bystanders could not help associating with the crucifixion of him men called "the King of the Jews;" then the death, in which appeared no terror; - all this drew forth the exclamation of the Roman. In St. Matthew, the words of the centurion which are reported are "the Son of God." Twice in those solemn hours had the centurion heard the Crucified pray to his Father. This may have suggested the words, "Son of God;" but this change in the later Gospel of St. Luke to "a righteous Man" seems to point to the sense in which the Roman used the lofty appellation.
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