A Divinely Initiated Convergence of Beauty

Nicholas Perrin, describing the conversion of the Centurion as he watched Jesus die:

When the Roman centurion stood before the cross, heard Jesus’ cry of dereliction, and saw how he died, he declared, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39).  The passage is as intriguing as it is mysterious. Why would this (presumably) pagan stranger to Jesus have concluded that Jesus was the Son of God? …He saw how Jesus died

…In determining that Jesus was the Son of God, the centurion did not proceed by a single fact or syllogism, as if being the Son of god could be proved.  Rather, he proceeded by a kind of divinely inspired aesthetic reasoning.  I think there was for the centurion, as for me in November 1983, a divinely initiated convergence of beauty.

…When you think of crucifixion, you are thinking of one of the most horrific ways for a human being to die. but as becomes clear in the Gospels, when you read how Jesus died, you see he died just as he lived.  He died a beautiful death.  The centurion needed no text critic, no historian, to tell him who Jesus was.  He just knew: Jesus was the Son of God.  When this objective reality breaks into our subjective experience, it changes everything.  It pulls us into a new kingdom.

Nick Perrin, Lost in Transmission?, 185-186.

That’s what it means to become a Christian. Objective reality breaking into our subjective experience as we hear Christ crucified. Upon hearing, God grants us a “divinely inspired aesthetic reasoning” that produces for us “a divinely initiated convergence of beauty.” In other words, the gospel comes “not only in word, but also in power and  in the Holy Spirit and with full  conviction” (1 Thess 1:5).

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