As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.
Here is a story about a man named Simon who comes from Cyrene. Cyrene, by the way, is where a lot of the Jews who opposed Stephen came from. (Acts 6:9) Simon is there along the road watching Jesus walk to Calvary, and the Romans who have the legal right to force Simon into service do just that. The service they call him to do is to carry the cross for Jesus. Theologians believe that Simon is a Christian. He was either one before all of this happened or he later became one, and the reason they believe this is because they have mentioned him by name. (Mark 15:21)
Jesus tells us that if we want to follow Him then we have to pick up our cross and follow Him daily. (Luke 9:23) The cross that we bear is not the same cross as Jesus bore. Jesus died on His cross for our sins. Our cross, though it may be heavy, will never bear that weight. It is our cross, our trial in our life, that Jesus says we are to pick up and carry and follow Him.
Simon picked up a cross and it wasn’t his but Jesus’. Sometimes Jesus calls us to pick up another person’s cross. I am speaking to all the caretakers out there. Anyone who has a disabled person in their life, it is their cross that you carry along with your own. Gary can’t carry his cross so I carry it, but so does all our family. Each person who helps with Gary takes a turn carrying his cross. Most days we don’t mind, some days are just harder. But until Gary can carry his own cross I have to bear the weight of it most of the time.
For all of you who feel the weight of your cross is too heavy, go to Jesus. He will lift your burden. For all of us who are caretakers, go to Jesus. He will lift our burden. He calls us to carry our cross but He also calls us to ask Him for help. The bad news is we have to carry a cross, but the good news is only children of God are called to carry a cross. This is why it is a joy when we face trials because unlike the rest of the world, we have help in the midst of our trials. We never face anything on our own. God is with us, and God never leaves us for God is Emmanuel. What a wonderfully loving Savior we have. Let us pray:
Heavenly Father, Emmanuel, we do thank You for the cross we must take up for it is by that cross we know we are Yours, and that, Father, does bring us great joy. I pray all this in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.