I guess the one story that I remember the best is one night at Round Up, we had the Reverend Grady Nutt from Hee Haw fame (if there was such a thing) sharing with us. He told the story of the Roman Centurion who had met Jesus as a young boy. (This is not a recorded biblical story, because it would have happened when Jesus was in his teens.) But he shared that Jews were required to carry the heavy packs of Centurions (enemies of the Jews) as they made their way through Jerusalem…and by Roman law they were required to carry the packs to a post outside of town. There were actual posts one mile outside of town in all directions. And any young defiant Jew would start to loosen the pack as he approached the mile marker…and the Centurion would ready himself to catch the pack as the young Jew would drop the pack and run back to town. But Jesus didn’t do this. He kept carrying the pack…talking and engaging this Centurion all the while. Finally….as Jesus had carried the pack at least twice the normal requirement….he told the Centurion that he had really better get back to his parents. It was getting dark and they would be worried. Rev. Nutt made the connection that this is known as “going the extra mile” and teaching us how to love our enemies.
He went on to say….that later as Jesus was hanging on the cross, being punished for sins he didn’t commit, dying a death that we deserve….he looked down to see his old friend. And the Centurion who had walked with Jesus years earlier, looked up as Jesus breathed his last breath and said, “Surely, this man was the Son of God!”.