STATION 3: SIMON HELPS CARRY THE CROSS
21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.
I can only imagine the awful weight of the cross Christ carried. Not only does the weight of beams of wood press down, but also the burden He carried for those whom He loved. Christ came and offered them life, and yet they returned only death.
Can you imagine Christ falling from the crushing weight of pain and grief? I don’t know how many times He stumbled, but His physical strength had to be failing. The soldiers must have recognized this as well because they forced a man from the crowd to help Him carry the cross the rest of the way to the place where He would be crucified. The man of Cyrene was just a bystander passing through on his way into town from the countryside. And yet he bore the weight of the cross to save Christ’s strength.
I would like to think that if I had been there I would have rushed from the crowd and volunteered to carry that cross.
But would I have had the courage to face the Roman soldiers and risk being forced to join you on a cross? Would I have really been so eager to share your cross if it meant that I might have to die on one as well? Would I have been willing to risk everything to ease your suffering for a few moments?
I can already hear myself and my own selfish reasons for choosing to stay in the crows. I have my own crosses already…I have as much as I can bear without taking on the added burdens of others…What would people think of me if I were seen consorting with criminals and enemies of Rome in such a public spectacle?
What would I have done? Truly? I probably would have tried to become invisible in the crowd. And when the soldiers were looking around for someone to press into service, I would likely have looked away and pretended not to notice what was happening.
Sounds like me.
It is easy to pretend not to see the needs, the grief, and the suffering around me every day. It is easy to pretend not to hear the cries for help that come in many forms from those among whom I walk every day. It is easy to convince myself that I am too busy, or too tired, or have too much on my plate already to get involved in the lives of others.
And yet, I remember something that Christ said. Something about taking up my own cross and following Him. He said something about becoming a servant of all, of putting myself last and others first. Is this what it means to be a servant? Jesus, are you showing me what it means to be that kind of servant. Is this man from Cyrene modeling for me the path of discipleship?
Must Jesus bear the cross alone
And all the world go free?
No, there’s a cross for everyone
And there’s a cross for me.
Prayer: O Lord, forgive me for becoming so preoccupied with myself that I have become deaf and blind to the grief and suffering of those around me. Forgive me for my indifference. Constantly remind me that I cannot love you without loving others as well. Help me always remember that to be a follower of yours means that I share in the burdens of others. Lord, show me someone whose cross I may help carry. Give us hearts of servants.
Song of Worship: Hearts of Servants
Jesus, You are
Jesus, You were
Jesus, You will always be
A perfect servant to us
A perfect servant to death
Even death on a cross
Give us a picture of Your face
Show us the measure of Your grace
Reveal the love of the Father
Put within us tenderness
Release from us all selfishness
We’ll consider them better
We are Yours
Give us hearts of servants