Helping Christ Carry the Cross…
Simon was forced by the Romans into helping Christ carry the cross:
They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. -Mark 15:21, NAB
Have you ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Simon certainly was. Simply going about his day, he was forced into helping a badly beaten Jesus. The Romans knew that Jesus could not physically carry it alone, and Simon was forced to help.
Like Simon, we are called to help Christ bear the weight of the cross. The difference is that we are not forced to carry it, as Simon was; instead, we must choose to do so. But making the choice to bear our own crosses can be one of the most difficult decisions we will ever make.
Of course, we are not asked to carry the same cross as Christ, for His cross brought salvation to mankind; however, we will often have our own crosses to bear. Our crosses can come in many forms. Some are large; others are small. Some crosses may only slow us down; others may threaten our very lives. Regardless of how large our crosses may be, we are given the choice to bear them.
Overcoming addiction may be a cross that we must bear. Struggling with illness or disabilities may be our cross. Or, simply dealing with a difficult boss can be our burden. The crosses we bear may come and go; they may be heavy at certain times, light at others; but regardless of their size, crosses are crosses.
Are we ever forced into carrying crosses? Yes and no. We cannot prevent ourselves from getting ill, but we can choose how we choose to bear it. How do we handle our burdens? Do we handle them with grace? Or, do we reject Christ and the cross He has asked us to bear? It may seem that a cross is being forced upon us, but we still must choose to carry it.
Jesus asks us each to carry the burdens of our own crosses. In Luke 9:23, Christ tells us:
Then he said to all, “If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. -Luke 9:23, NAB
What crosses are you being asked to carry? How are you helping Christ carry the cross? Simon was forced into helping Christ carry the cross, but you and I are given the choice. Deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Christ. The burdens it brings in this world may be great, but the rewards in the next will be even greater.