"Now, when the centurion, and they that were with him watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying: Truly this was the [a] Son of God."
"Now, when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying: Certainly this was a righteous man."
Note. -- The centurion here spoken of is the one who, according to Roman custom, presided over the execution (hence called by Seneca centurio supplicio præpositus; or by Tacitus, exactor mortis). This centurion, the captain in Capernaum (Matt. viii.), and the captain Cornelius at Cæsarea (Acts x.), form a triumvirate of believing Gentile soldiers in the New Testament. The confession, "Truly this (or this man, as Mark has it) was a Son of God" (theou huios), may be taken (with Meyer) in a polytheistic sense, or equivalent to demigod; an interpretation which is supported by the absence of the definite article before huios, and by the parallel passage of Luke, who substitutes dikaios for the theou huios of Matthew and Mark. But Lange and Alford maintain that the centurion used the expression in a Jewish or Christian sense, acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah. It is by no means improbable that he was previously acquainted with the Jewish expectations and the claims of Christ. Compare the remarks in Lange's "Matthew," Am. ed., p.518.