This morning I got a chance to have a quiet morning to myself. As I sat there, I was reflecting on the fact that it was Easter, which brough thoughts of what this day represents. I picked up my bible and began reading about the trial, Christ being led away, his death and the resurrection. In no way am I trying to take away from the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for us, but I was being drawn back to something that happened right before his crucifixion.
As Jesus is being led away, he is no longer able to carry his cross. A bystander, Simon was ordered by one of the soldiers to pick it up and carry it for him. As I was reading this, I noticed not much is mentioned about Simon except that he was a bystander and where he was from. My mind thinks in weird ways sometimes, but I thought why Simon, out of all the people in the crowd that day and what was Simon thinking when he was ordered to pick up and carry the cross?
Jesus, weakened from his beatings, is no longer able to carry the cross. All condemned prisoners had to carry their own cross to the site they were to be executed. At that moment, did the soldier see past all that Jesus was accused of and what others thought and said about him? Did he see him as a fellow human being, someone in need of help? Did he have a moment of compassion and turn to Simon and say, “you help him with his burden?”
At that moment, what was going through Simon’s head? Out of thousands of people that day, was he thinking why me, I am a nobody? I am just here to celebrate the Passover with everyone else. That cross is big and the burden is heavy. Why do I have to get involved in all this, this is his problem not mine? If I carry that cross, the splinters are going to dig deep into my back and it is going to hurt. Doing this is going to take time away from what I came here for, the celebration, spending time with friends and family. Even though he was commanded to carry the cross, being in the large crowd he was in, he may have had the choice to say “no”. If he did, would the soldier have called upon someone else? But, like the soldier, did Simon see a person in need of help and have compassion for him?
As all this was swirling around in my head, I thought at this point was God trying to say to us “pick up the cross?” When we see a fellow human being broken, beaten down and weary from the burden they are carrying, will we be the ones who will have compassion and say, “I will walk along side of you and help.” Will we walk the distance with them or will we say “no” and turn and hide in the crowd? From what I read and I could be wrong, but Simon was no one special, just someone picked from a crowd of thousands, but what made him different was that he didn’t run and he helped carry the burden of the heavy cross to the end. We don’t have to be extraordinary people for God to use us; we can be a nobody in a crowd of thousands. But when we say “yes” when called on, He can do extraordinary things through us and change the lives of others around us. So, will you say “yes” or wait for someone else to be called? Just a thought!