The Roman Centurion
I felt inspired to paint the scene in the New Testament when the Roman Centurion stands at the foot of the cross and looks up at the Savior, who has already died and who knows all the thoughts and feelings the soldier was experiencing at that moment. The soldier had participated in the crucifixion. Being a Roman Army Officer, a centurion, he was in command of 100 men, so he very likely was in charge of the crucifixion, although it doesn’t say for sure.
As he was looking up at Jesus he spoke out loud and said, “truly this man was the son of God” (Mark 15:39). He must have felt something very strong to have made such a declaration loud enough to be heard over the thunder, lightning, and wind, which was already engulfing Golgotha.
It was a difficult painting to create and took me over a year to complete. I worked on it one or two days a week, but had other paintings I also had to work on during that period so I could not spend full time on it. That is why it took over a year to finish.
Sometime during the year, I become so busy with my other paintings, that I stopped working on the centurion all together. I noticed a void in my life during that period. Things were not going as well as they should have been, and the difficulty kept increasing. I became perplexed and somewhat depressed. I turned to the Lord for answers. I received a distinct feeling that I needed to return to the centurion as I had been neglecting Him.
The next day, I set the canvas up on the easel and started to paint where I had left off. At one point in the painting I had a very good feeling about the face of the centurion. It seemed to me to have the right expression and look, I was happy about it. My sister Dixie saw it one day and was moved to tears, and told me, “do NOT change his face – it is just what it ought to be.” I was impressed with the emotion in her voice.
It isn’t perfect I know, but there is something in his expression which is supposed to be there or as my sister Dixie put it, it is “what it ought to be." Someday I hope to meet that Roman soldier. He may or may not look like the one I painted, but it was his spirit and testimony I felt that was captured with the paint and the brush.