From Spectator to Sharing
“They pressed into service . . . Simon . . . to bear His cross.” Mark 15:21
There are defining moments in life when, in an instant, one goes from faithlessness to faith, from being lost to being found, from good to great. In the journey of faith, it’s a moment when our urgent need intersects with the opportunity of God’s will. It’s the moment when we move from being a spectator to sharing in the cross.
The somber crowd makes its way through the streets. At the front of this sad parade is Jesus, followed by the two thieves who were to be executed in the same manner. Onward the procession moves. Jesus carries the horizontal beam of the cross from the hall of judgment to Calvary. Having already endured the whipping and scourging of His flesh, His strength began to give way under the heavy cross. He crumples to the ground exhausted, He can go on no longer.
Who will help Jesus? The soldier would never stoop to help a criminal. The Jews wouldn’t think of touching a cursed piece of wood and a symbol of Roman power which they despise. The religious leaders had done their part of engineering the crucifixion and had washed their hands of the matter. The soldiers search for someone to carry out the task. In a moment, they catch sight of Simon.
Simon was on his pilgrimage to observe the feast. Just as he was coming into the city, Jesus was making His way out. In a moment, the soldiers catch sight of him, they press him to carry Jesus’ cross. At first he resists the request, but after seeing the suffering eyes of Jesus, he’s conquered by love.
The cross which Simon carried was Jesus’ cross and not his own. Today as His disciples we bear the cross of Christ every time we willingly suffer pain and loss in order to further His message and His kingdom. He cried “It is finished!” His own part was finished, but the work of the cross will never be finished.
Will you answer the high call of carrying His cross?