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Articles

Carry His Cross Together

What’s the heaviest thing you ever had to carry? With modern inventions, few of us often carry heavy loads. We have forklifts, dollies, handcarts, and other technologies that help us transport our loads.

Having moved often, I’m not stranger to carry heavy things. I’ve moved our piano more times that I can count. Couches have moved up and down stairs. Terry and I carried bookshelves together the other day. Almost every time we have a church event, I bring the PA system and almost all of the equipment I have with me. All of these would count as heavy loads.

Yet, none of these compare the load carried by Simon of Cyrene. We’re familiar with the name from passages like Matthew 27.31-32:

31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. 32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross.

This passages leaves you with the impression that the soldiers removed the cross from the shoulders of Jesus and had Simon carry it instead. Yet, we learn more from Luke:

26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus (Luke 23.26).

Simon was asked­—no forced to carry the cross behind Jesus. Jesus bore the front of the heavy load. Simon was forced to carry the same load behind him.

Jesus tells His disciples several times that they must “carry the cross” (cf. Matthew 10.38; 16.24-26; Mark 8.34; Luke 9.23-27; 14.27). He even warned his disciples that they must be able to suffer as He was going to suffer (cf. Mark 10.39-40). They argued they could suffer in like manner. Yet, when it came time to literally put into action their claims, when Jesus was being arrested, they fled. Simon was the only one who carried the cross with Jesus.

To add more difficulty to Simon’s task, he was on a journey. I wouldn’t imagine this event was on his itinerary. He also had children with him.

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 (Mark 15.21).

How about us? Do we carry the cross with Jesus? Do we carry the cross even when it’s inconvenient?

We are told to be willing to suffer as Jesus suffered (1 Peter 4.13). We are told to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6.2). We have a lot of heavy loads to shift about as Christians. How are we doing with all of this heavy lifting?

There’s one picture of comfort in all of this. Remember that Simon, no matter how inconvenienced, no matter how heavy that piece of wood, was not carrying it alone. He was carrying it with Jesus.

When we have a load to carry, remember that Jesus is on the other end. We are asked to carry His cross, and on that cross, He proved that He was willing bear our burdens also. We carry the crosses of life together.