A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
The first thing we see is that in His weakened state, the Lord was physically unable to carry the full weight of His cross. So a man named Simon was made to carry it.
Nobody volunteers to carry a cross. He had to be forced to do it, and it wasn’t even Simon’s cross.
We may not want to do it, but carrying our cross is a choice every believer has to make. It’s a daily decision. It’s not some situation that we find ourselves in.
I’ve heard some women say about their husband, “You’re my cross that I have to bear.” That’s absolutely not what’s meant by carrying the cross. It’s all about a daily choice to deny the flesh and follow the leading of the Spirit.
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
The next thing I see is that the cross involves pain. Besides its other uses, myrrh was a painkiller. Condemned criminals were given it to take the edge off of the pain they were about to endure. Jesus refused it, taking the full pain of punishment for us.
The fact is that when we deny the flesh, there’s pain involved. Maybe not physical pain, but there is a great discomfort in refusing the way of the “old man”. A large part of that is the knowledge that at any point we could choose to stop the discomfort and give in to the temptation of sin.
To my knowledge, there’s no painkiller available to stop the discomfort of denying the flesh. I wish that there was. I believe that Christ refused the myrrh to identify with our suffering.
And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
Finally, the cross involves loss. Jesus had to watch while others took things that belonged to Him. That’s also a part of what happens when we deny the flesh.
Our present generation has recently coined a new term – FOMO. It stands for a Fear Of Missing Out. In our age of everyone being connected to each other – we constantly know what all our friends are doing. We know where they are, what they’re eating, and what they’re feeling.
When we decide to deny the flesh and follow the Spirit, it always comes with the fear that we’re going to miss out on the enjoyment of the world. If I follow Jesus, then I’m not going to have as much fun as my friends.
That’s a choice you have to make. It depends on whether you want fun or fulfillment. Do you want a life you can look back on and say, “That was worth living!”?
Please understand; I’m not saying that there’s no fun as a believer. My life is full of good times. But the good times in Christ come without the baggage of regret. Sometimes the hardest choices bring the greatest rewards.
Carrying your cross – it goes against human nature – but you’ll find that it’s worth the pain.
Question: What does carrying your cross mean to you?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi