The Mega-phone of Christ Crucified

Mark-15-37“‘A loud cry.’ In Greek the words are phone megale, which, transposed, begin to look familiar: a mega-phone.

A shout of triumph!

…What was that?

A loud shout! Phone megale! …No, this is not at all what the centurion expects. It’s a cry that he has heard before, to be sure – but never in defeat and never, never in death, always when the soldier has won the battle or the king the war.

This is a cry of triumph! The centurion whirls around to see Jesus: he sees eyes like fiery darts in the darkness; he sees a mouth thin and thin, as thin as the blade of a sword, grinning!

Victorious? King of the Jews – victorious over what? What do these flaming eyes announce?

Satan, thou art defeated in my defeat! Sin, dispossessed of a people! Death, look about thee; thou art not mighty and dreadful. Lo, I close my eyes and die  – and death shall be no more.

Then, suddenly, he dies. The centurion’s jaw drops. He stares, but he’s seen it before; he knows the signs: Jesus is dead. dead. No coma, no deeper sleep than another sleep. All at once the eyes see nothing, the mind thinks nothing, the heart has ceased to beat –

-but suddenly! That’s what rivets the centurion. It is as if this man chose to go fully conscious straight to the wall of death, and there to strike it with all his might and, in the striking, die. Aware of absolutely everything.

See to it, Centurion.

I’ll see to it all, sir.

No, not all. One thing astounds the centurion: how can a crucified criminal act so convincingly like the victor?”


“O Christ!

When you died, you broke the wall that divided us from God: you struck it, you cracked it, you tore it apart – you made a door of that which had been death before.

And the sign was that “the veil of the temple was rent in twain, from the top to the bottom,” and the mercy seat was made open to my approach. Amen.”

Reliving-passion-Wangerin-1992Quoted from Walter Wangerin, Jr.’s Reliving the Passion; Meditations on the Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus as Recorded in Mark (Zondervan, 1992). This is found in his meditation on Mark 15:37-39a, pp.131-32.