The Cross

And they led him out to crucify him,” Mark 15:20.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, we are just a few weeks removed from Easter.  Question, “Are you as joyous, thankful, and mindful of the implications of the cross today as you were just a few weeks ago?”

This mornings More For Christ readings, Mark 15:20-47 give us scenes from the way of suffering and the cross itself.  Much of what you will read this day is familiar to you.  I can honestly say, “I needed refreshment as I read these verses.”  In my desire to be fresh in my studies, I found myself listing all the different types of suffering Jesus faced during those six hours on the cross.  Mark lists no less than nine different types of suffering that Jesus faced.  The list includes such things as being offered a type of pain-killer, “Wine mixed with myrrh,” and the ridicule of people who said, “If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”  I am eternally thankful that He did not.  Each of these things reminded me of the amount of sacrifice Jesus made to redeem me from the wrath of God.  All of these things are familiar to us.

However there is one verse that maybe we just read and maybe missed the vivid image that it portrays.  Here is the verse: “And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.”

In this moment I was reminded that usually a condemned prisoner had to carry his own cross beam to the place of his crucifixion.  But because of Jesus beatings, he was weakened to the point that he could not carry his cross.  So this man was compelled to carry the beam for Jesus.  What a picture we have of Jesus words in Mark 8:24, “Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me.”

Certainly the weight of the cross was born by Christ alone. But the witness of the cross is to be carried daily by his followers.  We carry the cross by the way we live our lives.  We are to carry the cross in our hearts and we are to express the message of the cross in accurate teaching and witnessing to all we meet today.

This very day, our Lord will compel each of us to carry the cross.  It could be that you will carry the cross to lunch and share the message with your waiter or the client you are entertaining.  It could be your co-worker or the person you do work for today.  It could be your children or your spouse.  It could be the person you are taking classes with.

May the cross have its way with you today.  Oh the wonderful cross that bids me to come and die and follow Him.

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