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Luke 23:47 (NASB)

Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying,
“Certainly this man was innocent.”


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Bible Commentary

Luke 23:47 is a Bible verse from the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, in which a Roman Captain acknowledged that Jesus was innocent.

The Roman soldiers who were involved in beating, scourging and nailing Jesus to the cross were most likely present when the Captain, or centurion mentioned in this Bible verse, uttered these words. He was probably in command of those men.

He was the one who made sure Pilate’s order was carried out, to make sure the job got done. It was a messy, bloody order—a heinous penalty for criminals.

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Not only did he do his job in making sure the order was carried out, but to add emotional pain and suffering to Jesus’ physical pain, his men also mocked and taunted Jesus. Even so, in their presence Jesus asked the Father to forgive them (Luke 23:34). How great is the mercy and love of Jesus Christ—the one innocent among the many guilty!

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Let’s see what happened on the hill at Golgotha after the crucifixion, in the presence of those standing by.

Luke 23:44-49 says:

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 because the sun was obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 

46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent.” 

48 And all the crowds who came together for this spectacle, when they observed what had happened, began to return, beating their breasts. 49 And all His acquaintances and the women who accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, seeing these things.

This centurion had just witnessed the miraculous. Imagine his reaction when he realized the truth about Jesus, that He really was the Son of God.

Unlocking the Truth -  Innocent

The word “innocent” is defined as: 1) not tainted with sin; pure; ignorant of evil; blameless 2) free from qualities that can harm or injure.

No person on earth can say that they are free from qualities that harm or injure. We were all born into the nature of fallen man, which means we are all guilty.

But there is hope because of Christ. He paid the price for us, and before He died He asked God to forgive us—the guilty (Luke 23:34).

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When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, we become one with Him, as His Spirit comes into our heart to live with us (John 14:23). Therefore, we become like Him—innocent.

We might not feel innocent, but we must walk by faith in Christ. He is the truth, not our feelings. We have an adventurous spiritual journey of growth ahead, but we are forgiven, innocent in Christ all along the way.

Remember, Jesus asked the Father to forgive the very soldiers who tortured and killed Him. When we willingly prayed a simple prayer and asked Jesus to save us, He answered immediately.

He forgave us, washed us clean in His blood, set us beside Him so that we too, are innocent like Him. Let's walk with Him every day and take on more and more of His qualities, which are unable to harm or injure.

And soon, we begin to feel innocent. His blood sets us free.

Study Luke 23:47 and this entire Bible passage to fully understand His sacrifice for you and His desire to grant you His forgiveness.

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