Words of Comfort at Easter (From the Roman Soldiers)

BCC StaffFor Those Seeking Hope3 Comments

Written by BCC Counselor Matt Black

Have you ever been stuck?

You may be stuck in some life-dominating behavior that you can’t stop—anxiety, anger, addiction, despair. You’ve been there and done that, and you want to get out!

You have a relationship that you need to reconcile, but you’ve tried with no success. You need a major change in your life, but you’re afraid to fail again and again.

You feel stuck.

Being Stuck Is Common

Being stuck makes us feel helpless. Whether it’s a long line at the airport or you’re stuck in a Chicago snow, it’s discouraging. Maybe you are like me and start thinking that the stoplight isn’t working because it takes so long before turning green.

There is even a word to describe the stress and anxiety of the feeling of being stuck. It’s called “cleithrophobia” (great spelling bee material)—“the phobia of being trapped, locked in, unable to leave, the fear of being stuck.” [1] Even though we hate being trapped, as finite human beings, we often find ourselves helpless, broken, and trapped.

When we are trapped and stuck, we need to remember that this is not a special circumstance. It’s common to man.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” – 1 Corinthians 10:13

We all have times of not knowing what to do, and in order to understand the way to get unstuck, we need to look at the example of Jesus and the Roman soldiers.

None More Trapped than Jesus

No one was more trapped and paralyzed than Jesus on Good Friday. Of course, no one took his life from him, but he gave his life freely as the Son of God. He could have called ten thousand angels, but he chose to suffer and die for our sins.

The truth is, the Resurrection was coming, and Jesus was not a victim but used death to conquer death (Jn 10:18).

For Christ, and for the believer, weakness and powerlessness is not a ball and chain that confines us to the prison of being trapped. We are actually “crucified with Christ” in weakness and powerlessness, yet we can say with Paul, “nevertheless I live” (Gal 2:20). Why? Because with every time of “crucifixion” there is a resurrection.

The principle is this: whenever you feel stuck, you need to look to Christ, recognize His power and His lordship over you, rest in Him, and actively apply His words of life to your situation.

How? We need to look at the Roman soldiers for an example.

The Risen Christ Can Get Us Unstuck

The Roman soldiers that crucified Christ certainly did not understand the theology of the resurrection, but they did understand something. They realized that Christ’s power was not confined to His humanity. It began to dawn on some of them that this was the Son of God, who in some way was transcendent beyond this cross He was hanging on. With deep awe and wonder, one of the Roman officers, a centurion witnessed something beyond Jesus’ humanity and peered into His nature as God in human flesh.

“When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!'” – Matthew 27:54

Of course, Pilate and the officials that surrounded Him had heard that Jesus had predicted His death and then His own resurrection. On at least four distinct occasions in Matthew, Jesus predicted His death and that He would rise again on the third day (Mt 16:21–28; 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 26:1-2).

Pilate told the soldiers, “Go, make it [the grave] as secure as you can” (Mt 27:65). Sixteen heavily armed Roman soldiers were set there in front of the tomb. These Roman soldiers had seen the Lord crucified. Some stationed at His tomb may have participated in putting Him to death. Jesus had predicted He would rise from the dead on the third day. Some may have thought, “That Roman officer told me that this was the Son of God. He has power over the elements and nature, and maybe even power over death.” They would all find out as Sunday approached, that yes, indeed, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mt 27:54).

Here is an incredible truth. Jesus can never be “stuck”. Yes, He was nailed to a tree to bear our sins, but death has no power over the prince of life. This is the key to the Roman centurion’s testimony.

How to Get Unstuck

How do we get unstuck?

1. Recognize you are helpless without Christ.

First, we need to recognize we are helpless and weak without Christ. We must stop trying to fix ourselves. Trying to change our circumstances or the chaos of our hearts is like a heart surgeon trying to perform surgery on himself.

Recognize the truth of John 15:5, “Without me, you can do nothing.” You may feel crucified, paralyzed, and unable to help yourself. It’s true, without Christ’s help, you will remain helpless.

2. Rest all your hope and confidence in Christ alone.

Second, when you are paralyzed in anger, anxiety, addiction, or despair, you need to stop trying to fix yourself and hope in Christ alone. What does that mean? What is it that is making you anxious? What is it that is causing you anger? Look to the root of what you are hoping in and forsake it.

Are you anxious because of money problems, relationship problems, or you are angry because of being treated badly? The reason you are anxious and despairing, angry and turning to addictions or binge-watching, or fill-in-the-blank is that you are looking to the wrong savior for security.

Your reputation is not a good thing to trust in for security. If people speak bad of you, you are devastated. Stop trusting in your reputation. If your boss gives you a bad review, you are devastated because you are trusting in your job security. Stop trusting in your job, relationships, bank accounts, or earthly comfort, and start putting all your trust in Christ alone.

Even if you lose everything, you need not despair if you are settled on the unrelenting love of the Father who will never leave or forsake you.

3. Rejoice in the power of the Resurrection.

When that Roman officer said, “Truly this was the Son of God”, he was looking past the brutality and ugliness of the cross. He likely hadn’t heard of Christ’s promise of His own Resurrection, but he knew the one hanging there was not confined by those nails. Love held Him there. Regardless of what he knew then, we now know that Christ is transcendent, that is, He is bigger than our problems.

This Easter, know that it is Christ’s will that every one of your crucifixions will lead to a resurrection. Your trials are meant not to condemn you, but to draw you closer in relationship to Christ, in the power of His Resurrection.


Some of the soldiers guarding Christ’s tomb must have heard the testimony of the centurion and known that death has no power over the Prince of life! The grave could not hold Him. The soldiers, with all their weapons and the seal of the Roman governor, could not hold back the One Who conquered death!

They waited and guarded, but soon they would witness the greatest battle in the history of the world: Jesus vs. Death. Death had no chance!

Dear child of God, don’t remain stuck in the grave of sin and confusion. Rest in Christ and apply His promises to your situation. You are not stuck. This situation you are in is meant to conform you to the image of Christ.

[1] Mark Jobe. Unstuck: Out of Your Cave, Into Your Call (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2014), 9.

Do you or someone you know need counseling?

We are passionate about helping hurting people. We provide Skype counseling for people across the country, and live counseling in 5 offices across the Chicagoland area.

Get Help Today

Are you interested in learning to counsel others?

We believe that the Bible has the answers for a hurting world. We are passionate about training people and churches, through online courses and events, to help those in need.

Learn More Today

3 Comments on “Words of Comfort at Easter (From the Roman Soldiers)”

  1. What an amazing picture of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who died for us so that we might live! I am truly blessed by this article. It has touched and renewed so many areas of my life that I’ve felt stuck. Thank you so much for the wonderful insight!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *