Somewhere along the way between Pilate’s court and the hill of crucifixion, Jesus stumbled under the weight of the cross, unable to carry it any farther.  His body had been so abused He  could stand the weight of that cross no longer. He fall beneath that load. The Roman soldier in charge of the execution did not know what to do. It was beneath the dignity of a Roman soldier to carry the cross and no Jew would touch it, making himself unclean.  The whole procession was halted momentarily as the soldiers considered the situation. It was at this crucial moment that Simon appeared on the scene.  Here was the man, ready-made for the job. It was evident that he was a foreigner and best of all, it is believed, since coming from Africa that he was black. That must have been a grim day for Simon of Cyrene.  He was compelled to lift up and carry that cross of Jesus.

Countee Cullen wrote about Simon in this poem:  “He never spoke a word to me, and yet He called my name.  He never gave a sign to me, and yet I knew and came.
At first I said, “I will not bear His cross upon my back. He only seeks to place it there because my skin is black.
But, He was dying for a dream. And He was really weak. And in His eyes there shone a gleam men  journey far to seek.
It was Himself my pity bought.  I did for Christ alone what all of Rome could not have wrought with bruise of lash or stone.”

You will say that Simon was forced to carry the cross, that it was not of his own will.  The Scripture states that Simon was compelled to carry the cross, that is, he was pressed into service.  But, wouldn’t it be true that some compulsion must be laid upon each of us to get us to bear the cross?  Perhaps your compulsion is your family, or your sin, or the sin of the world, or a new look at Jesus.  I don’t know what will compel you to share the cross, but this I know, Jesus won’t carry the cross alone.  You’ll have to get under the responsibility if Christ’s cause is to flourish.  A great responsibility is laid upon every Christian to deny self and take up the Cross of Jesus, proclaiming the good news of salvation through Christ to everyone.  Accept Jesus and the pardon available for you flowing from the cross of Christ.

“Must Jesus bear the cross alone, and all the world go free?  No, there’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for me.”

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