“And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:37-39).
Two events happen simultaneous to the moment of Jesus’ death on the cross: the tearing of the temple curtain and the confession of the centurion.
Jesus was crucified outside of Jerusalem but something happened in the city, in the temple itself. After Jesus breathed his last, the curtain of the temple was ripped apart. Presumably this was the curtain in the temple, which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. It was a massive curtain, approximately 80 feet tall,  and it was torn in two from top to bottom.
This curtain had been a perpetual reminder to Israel that access to God was restricted. Only the high priest could go into the Holy of Holies and that once per year on the Day of Atonement. On the heels of Jesus’ last breath the significance of this must not be missed: atonement has been made and access has been granted through the death of Jesus.
After being transported to the temple in Mark 15:38, Mark transports us back to the foot of the cross in Mark 15:39. There a Roman centurion makes the confession, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” Similar to the tearing of the curtain and the centurion’s confession, there was one other time in Mark’s gospel when something was “ripped apart” and immediately a confession was made. It was the heavens which were torn open at Jesus’ baptism in Mark 1:10. And it was God who made a confession concerning Jesus. “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11).
Jesus’ identity, which was known perfectly by the Father, was finally acknowledged among men. The centurion saw how he died and realized that Jesus was none other than the unique Son of God. This is an amazing confession for any Gentile, let alone one who saw to Jesus’ crucifixion. It is now through his death, that Jesus’ true identity is finally understood. He is the Son of God.
Have you ever heard people talk about, “the real me?” Or have you ever heard someone say that, “no one really knows me until they know ______?” For such people it is the difference between casual and close. Through the centurion’s confession, we learn that no one really knows Jesus apart from his suffering and death. It is where we see the real Jesus. For all that he does in his life, teaching, miracles, and even his promises return, one cannot truly know him apart from his death on the cross.
Do we know him this way? Are we making him known in this way? May the death of Christ not be considered an unfortunate part to his story but essential for people to come to know the real Jesus.
 David E. Garland, A Theology of Mark’s Gospel (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2015), 230.