We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. As we do, we’re now at the crucifixion of the Lord. This is one of the most important events in all of history.
But, before He ever went to His cross, Jesus told us that we each need to carry our own cross. What does that mean to us? I believe that the events surrounding His crucifixion, give us some insights.
As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.
Luke 23:26 NIV
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.
However, there’s more to the story that we need to see.
A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!” ‘
For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
Luke 23:27-31 NIV
This section of Scripture shows the compassion of Jesus Christ in a powerful way. The Lord is too weak, physically, to carry His cross. Someone else has to bear the weight for Him.
Yet, at the same time, we see Him spiritually strong enough to bear the burdens of others. There are crowds of people following Christ to the place of His execution. Jesus looks at them and shows His concern for them.
Any other person in that place would be worried about themselves.
“I’ve got my own problems. Yes, weep for me. Show me your support of what I’ve done. Encourage me to do what I have to do.”
But, through all of this, Jesus shows that His focus is not on Himself. He’s doing this for others. For the crowd watching, as well as for you and me. He showed in this instance that there was no self-centeredness in His makeup.
He looked at these women and had compassion on them. He saw their future. Israel was going to be attacked and destroyed. All of its people would be scattered across the world. He was bearing the burden of that knowledge.
We need to follow his example. Yes, there are things we’re going through and battles that we’re fighting. But that doesn’t excuse us from ministering to the needs of others.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 NIV
We’re not told to help others only when everything’s going great for us. That’s not the example Christ laid down for us. We’re to help one another even when it’s not convenient.
Allow the Holy Spirit to work through you. Let Him strengthen you, not only for your trials, but in order to be an encouragement to others.
Question: How have you helped others while going through your own trials?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi