Cross to Bear

April 5th, 2009

Luke 23:26

Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on

him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus.
--NKJ

Who in the world is Simon of Cyrene? Though we may not exactly know today, he was known back then. Cyrene was a

country presumed to be in Northern Africa, near or part of Libia. Later, in the description of Pentecost, we find a

list of people who were present from several scattered nations that include Cyrene and distant lands to each point

of the compass.

Why were they all there at this time? Ancient Jews lived all over the known world, but at the Passover celebration,

the devoted ones made an effort to return to celebrate in Jerusalem. As it turned out this particular year, it was

also the sacrifice that Jesus would make of his life.

I thought the sacrifice that Jesus made was one that only he could pay. Him alone. What is the significance of Simon

carrying the cross of Jesus?

<blockquote>
Mark then, Christian, Jesus does not suffer so as to exclude your suffering. He bears a cross, not that you may

escape it, but that you may endure it. Christ exempts you from sin, but not from sorrow. Remember that, and expect

to suffer. But let us comfort ourselves with this thought, that in our case, as in Simon's, it is not our cross, but

Christ's cross which we carry. When you are molested for your piety; when your religion brings the trial of cruel

mockings upon you, then remember it is not your cross, it is Christ's cross; and how delightful is it to carry the

cross of our Lord Jesus!<br>
-- Spurgeon.
</blockquote>

One interesting word here is the word "after". Sometimes little words like that get mishandled in translation. Just

filling in for a somewhat generic pronoun or adjective. It is from a word that means to be behind. So what? Isn't

that what the word "after" means, anyway? Well, yes, but consider this.

The punishment that Jesus faced, only he could do. Carrying the cross was only a relatively small part of it. The

word could also imply that Jesus still carried the cross, but that Simon only helped to support the part that

trailed behind.

In other places of scripture Jesus says to all who listen, to carry your own cross and follow him. That if a person

does not bear his own cross, he can not be a disciple.

We are never promised that we will never carry a burden in our Christian walk. In fact, we may carry some very large

burdens at times, even in taking part in the very cross that Jesus bore, or in bearing our own cross similar to the

one Jesus bore. As large as that burden may be, it is far from the total price, and burden that Jesus carried that

day.

When burdens of life get you down, stop and rest by laying them at the feet of Jesus. Take courage and strength to

know that you are not alone in the burdens you carry.

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