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11 Titian’s Christ Carrying the Cross.jpg

Christ Carrying the Cross
by Titian


Mark 15:20-21

20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.  21 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.

When Jesus was carrying the cross, He was badly weakened by His injuries and the burden of the cross.  Brennan Manning said that

“when He said "Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy burdened," He assumed we would grow weary, discouraged, and disheartened along the way. These words are a touching testimony to the genuine humanness of Jesus. He had no romantic notion of the cost of discipleship. He knew that following Him was as unsentimental as duty, as demanding as love.” 

Exhausted, even Jesus needed help.  In Matthew 5:41, Jesus talks about loving your enemies and He says “if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”  He is referring to Roman law that permits Romans to impose a burden on anyone for up to a mile.  This same law is used to force the burden on Simon:  Failure to carry that burden would be a death sentence according to this law.

Have you ever felt the injustice of burdens pushed upon you?  When has the failure or burden of someone else become yours to bear?  It can take many forms:  Sometimes it comes through our families, our friends, our work – it can be the struggle of our children, or even the fallout of when other people refuse to carry their cross.  Ultimately, Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden became our burden.  We are ‘Simon’. Part of community is letting others bear your burdens too.

The challenge Jesus gives is to not respond to brokenness with brokenness: anger, resentment, and judgment are of the fall. When you are weary, discouraged, and disheartened, can you call on Jesus to be your ‘Simon’?  God will give you the help you need if you share it with those who love God.  Who can you go to for help with your burdens? How can you help carry the burden of others?


Let’s Pray
as One.

God, be Simon to my burdens.  Help me to also bear the burdens of others.  In doing so, may I help make your kingdom come: may your will be done because of how I trust others and make myself available to help others.  Help me to be present to see where you are at work and how I can join your efforts.  Amen.

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